Poulter two ahead of McDowell in Hong Kong

Ian Poulter of England celebrates on the 18th green during Day 3 of the UBS Hong Kong Open.
Ian Poulter of England celebrates on the 18th green during Day 3 of the UBS Hong Kong Open. ( Getty Images )

Sunday, January 23, 2011

HONG KONG – Ian Poulter shot a 6-under 64 Saturday for a two-stroke lead through three rounds at the Hong Kong Open.

The Englishman followed up his second-round 60 by sinking birdies on the final two holes, pulling clear of U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell (63). Simon Dyson of England shot a 65 to trail by three strokes.

Poulter holed out from 20 feet for a birdie on 18 to a huge cheer from the crowd.

“With Graeme pressing and Simon pressing, you know, I wanted to make sure that I went into tomorrow with a little lead, so it was huge,” Poulter said of his strong finish.

Poulter started with a birdie on the second and then eagled the 551-yard, par-5 third in his third straight round without a bogey.

McDowell shot the best round of the day. The Northern Irishman had an eagle on the 10th, driving the green on a hole that was shortened to 287 yards before making a long putt.

That began an impressive back nine that brought consecutive birdies at 13th, 14th and 15th.

Rory McIlroy (66)– runner-up in 2008 and 2009 – is four shots behind the leader along with American Anthony Kang (67).