Poulter rides luck to top Westwood

Englishman into semi-finals as Donald and Kaymer eye No 1 spot

The winner invariably sees the contest different to the loser, particularly when the stakes are high. So it was with Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood yesterday after the former had knocked out the latter in the Volvo World Match Play Championship.

Poulter beat his countryman on the 18th after an enthralling battle which saw the pair shoot a 66 and 67 respectively. As Poulter acknowledged, any Westwood frustration was understandable. By his reckoning he was 19-under for the 46 holes he played here this week. "That's match play," said Westwood, before providing a critique of Poulter's golf.

"When you play Ian you just accept that's Ian's game," said Westwood. "You know he's not going to hit it great, but he's going to make a lot of putts and get up and down from everywhere, which was typical Ian today. He just had a few breaks as well."

The crucial "break", in Westwood's opinion, came on the penultimate hole, a short par-three. "He didn't hit a great shot at 17," said Westwood. "He pulled it and it rolled off the bank to around two foot." There were others. "On the 11th he stayed out of the hazard and holed it from off the green for a half," said Westwood. "You know that's the frustrating thing about match play. Sometimes it's not reflective of how the players are playing."

After beating Francesco Molinari on the 18th in the afternoon quarter-final, Poulter defended how he performed against Westwood, although stressed, "I'm not going to get in no tennis match with Lee. I actually played lovely," said Poulter. "I hit three bad shots in the round. Every other shot was lovely. I mean if I had taken my chances in the first six holes I would have been up in my game anyway. Lee didn't take his chances, but he still played great."

Poulter has had his ball-striking prowess questioned before, most notably by the American commentator Johnny Miller. "I'm really not bothered," said Poulter.

Whatever he is – or isn't – nobody would question the size of his heart. Poulter was two-down with four remaining against Molinari, but won the last four holes. This time on the 17th he struck a sweet shot to four feet. Not a bank in sight; just a second prestigious match play title having won the Accenture version in Arizona a year ago. In this morning's semi-final he takes on the surprise package of the week in Nicolas Colsaerts, a Belgium ranked outside the world's top 100. Poulter will be confident but he will know that for one of this afternoon's finalists there will be rather more on the line than merely the £700,000 first prize. Either one of Luke Donald and Martin Kaymer will have a shot to replace Westwood as the world No 1. Donald has to win, Kaymer has to win. So much for the complexities of the rankings system.

Of course, Kaymer and Donald contested the Accenture final in February. Donald prevailed 3&2 to win his first US event in five years, but has a hunch it will be a different German in front of him. "He wasn't at his best in Tucson," he said. Kaymer will likelyhave to be today, despite Donald still suffering the after-effects of a throat infection. The Englishman is already guaranteed his 13th top 10 in the last 14 events and in the match-play columns stretching back to last year's Ryder Cup has now won 13 matches on the spin. An incredible stat in this volatile format.

The world No 2 gave an indication why when shrugging off an indifferent show to birdie two of the last three holes before denying Johan Edfors in sudden death. And in the quarter-finals, he looked more like the Donald of the present when beating Charl Schwartzel, the Masters champion, by two holes. Kaymer, himself, was not his usual excellence in the morning, despite seeing off Soren Kjeldsen 3&2, but then turned it on to defeat the local hero Alvaro Quiros by two holes.

Colsaerts' 2&1 victory was actuallythe most comfortable of the afternoon, and was a shock considering it came at the expense of the world No 5, Graeme McDowell. But then, maybe there was a hangover from McDowell's morning win over Rory McIlroy. The Ulster pair are great friends, but barely a word was spoken as McDowell, courtesy of being seven-under through 16 holes, eased through 3&2.

McIlroy was niggle personified reacting to a series of missed putts by throwing his club once and kicking his ball into a bush another time. He also made McDowell tap in three putts under three feet. What is it about match play which creates so much tension? Utterly delicious, isn't it?

Arts and Entertainment
filmPoldark production team claims innocence of viewers' ab frenzy
Life and Style
Google marks the 81st anniversary of the Loch Ness Monster's most famous photograph
techIt's the 81st anniversary of THAT iconic photograph
Katie Hopkins makes a living out of courting controversy
All the major parties are under pressure from sceptical voters to spell out their tax and spending plans
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Kevin Spacey and artistic director Matthew Warchus at the Old Vic party to honour Spacey
theatreStar's successor at Old Vic theatre admits he's 'allergic to hype'
Life and Style
life + healthVirginia Ironside's dilemma, during Depression Awareness Week
Arts and Entertainment
The median income for professional writers is just £10,432, less than the minimum wage
booksSurvey reveals authors' earnings
Life and Style
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

Open letter to David Cameron

Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

You don't say!

Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

So what is Mubi?

Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

The hardest job in theatre?

How to follow Kevin Spacey
Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders