Poulter not perfect but making strides on the big occasion

Ian Poulter has regularly seemed too keen to lick himself, not the opposition. And like his beloved Arsenal, he has too often been eye-catching without getting his mitts on the silverware.

The latter happened again yesterday but the 32-year-old peacock in pink trews came closer than ever before to landing a major, and he should have no regrets about his contribution to a dramatic denouement here.

At one point in the afternoon – 5.14pm to be precise – a birdie on the 16th hole gave Stevenage's finest a share of the lead with Padraig Harrington on seven under par. He then ceded a good chance to go better than that on the 17th when he might feasibly have bagged a birdie four but missed. But he maintained his seven-over for the tournament by finishing par-par for a one-under-par round of 69 yesterday.

In the end, that was good enough for second place, four shots off Harrington's pace. That substantial ultimate margin will probably make Poulter less rueful as time goes by. He will also be comforted that his performance here has pushed him to the brink of Nick Faldo's Ryder Cup team. He missed out in 2006, having scored the winning points for Europe on his debut two years earlier.

"Very probably things could have been better for me today," Poulter said afterwards. "At the start of the day I had a score in my mind that I wanted and was comfortable with what I shot. I would have taken one under par at the first tee.

"But I should have shot at least a couple lower. I missed from five feet on the 13th, and three-putted at 17 when I should have done better."

Actually, that three putt was not as bad as it sounds. His first putt was from 45 feet, and though he played only to within nine feet, conditions were not easy. Missing the second attempt understandable, and other shots on the day – a nerveless 12-footer for par the last, for example – were some compensation.

His second shot on the last hole had fallen short of the green, leaving a tough chip in gusty conditions. With balls being blown all over the place even on short putts, this was an eminently missable one. But after standing over the ball for some time, trousers flapping madly, he knocked it straight into the cup.

Poulter punched the air in glee. He was, at that stage, the clubhouse leader. With no obvious sign that the gales were going to leave, it was as likely at that stage that those behind him would continue to drop shots, not pick them up. But it was not to be.

Seve Ballesteros's old observation that the closest Poulter will get to the Claret Jug is the patterned trousers with jugs on them that he wore in previous Opens remains true, for now.

"Hats off to Padraig," Poulter said. "Not many people have won back-to-back Opens."

One other man who has, of course, is Tiger Woods, absent here. And Poulter, of course, rather infamously said earlier this year: "I respect everyone who is a professional. But the problem is I haven't played to my full potential yet. And when that happens it will just be me and Tiger."

On a similar theme yesterday – but with no suggestion whatsoever that he was being anything other than confident in himself, he said: "I've known I can perform and play well. I've put in a decent show today but I know I can go better."

He added: "I haven't enjoyed a week as much as this one. It was a massive adrenalin rush in front of those galleries and a massive boost. I didn't quite manage to do enough but it was a nice roller-coaster ride."

Poulter picks up a cheque for £450,000 for his second place, which will at least enable him to add to his car collection, if not his trophy cabinet.

On the prospect of getting into the Ryder Cup team, he said: "It would be nice to be there. I've certainly put myself right into the picture."

He has not qualified as of right yet, but is getting closer with more than a month still to go before the 31 August deadline. Perhaps more importantly than boosting his points, he has shown Faldo that he has the temperament for the big occasion.

"I hope this will be a springboard for me into the next few weeks," he said. "I want to be there this year. And I think I've got a lot to offer."

Voices
A Russian hunter at the Medved bear-hunting lodge in Siberia
Save the tigerWildlife charities turn to those who kill animals to help save them
News
Davis says: 'My career has been about filling a niche - there were fewer short actors and fewer roles – but now I'm being offered all kinds of things'
PeopleWarwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
News
i100
Sport
Frank Lampard will pass Billy Wright and equal Bobby Charton’s caps tally of 106 caps against
sportFormer Chelsea midfielder in Etihad stopgap before New York contract
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The first film introduced Daniel Radcliffe to our screens, pictured here as he prepares to board the train to Hogwarts for the first time.
booksHow reading Harry Potter helps children grow up to be gay-friendly
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Aladdin is performed at the Tony Awards in New York in June
theatreBrit producer Lythgoe makes kids' musical comedy a Los Angeles hit
Sport
Usain Bolt of Jamaica smiles and shakes hands with a competitor after Jamaica won their first heat in the men's 4x100m relay
sport
News
Chancellor George Osborne, along with the Prime Minister, have been 'complacently claiming the economy is now fixed', according to shadow Chancellor Ed Balls
i100... which is awkward, because he is their boss, after all
Life and Style
A small bag of the drug Ecstasy
Health
Life and Style
Floral-print swim shorts, £26, by Topman, topman.com; sunglasses, £215, by Paul Smith, mpaulsmith.co.uk
FashionBag yourself the perfect pair
News
news
News
Netherlands' goalkeeper Tim Krul fails to make a save from Costa Rica's midfielder Celso Borges during a penalty shoot-out in the quarter-final between Netherlands and Costa Rica during the 2014 FIFA World Cup
newsGoalkeepers suffer from 'gambler’s fallacy' during shoot-outs
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmReview: A week late, Secret Cinema arrives as interactive screening goes Back to the Future
Extras
indybest
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Save the Tiger: Meet the hunters tasked with protecting Russia's rare Amur tiger

Hunters protect Russia's rare Amur tiger

In an unusual move, wildlife charities have enlisted those who kill animals to help save them. Oliver Poole travels to Siberia to investigate
Transfers: How has your club fared in summer sales?

How has your club fared in summer sales?

Who have bagged the bargain buys and who have landed the giant turkeys
Warwick Davis: The British actor on Ricky Gervais, how the Harry Potter set became his office, and why he'd like to play a spy

'I'm a realist; I know how hard this business is'

Warwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
The best swim shorts for men: Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer

The best swim shorts for men

Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer
Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Meet the couple blamed for bringing Lucifer into local politics
Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup