Poulter settles for third but sets sights on Ryder Cup place

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The Independent Online

Ian Poulter missed out on a place in the World Cup as K J Choi claimed victory in the German Masters here yesterday.

Poulter needed to win to qualify for England's two-man team in November but was unable to recover from a double-bogey six on the ninth. The 27-year-old from Hertfordshire had to settle for a share of third place after a final round 68 gave him a 23-under-par total of 265, three behind Choi.

The South Korean, making his European Tour debut, fired a closing 67 to collect £351,978, finishing two ahead of Spain's Miguel Angel Jimenez. Jimenez had a birdie at the last to claim outright second and valuable Ryder Cup qualifying points, with Poulter sharing third with Niclas Fasth of Sweden.

"The ninth gave me a kick up the backside to birdie 10 and 11 but all I was doing was getting those two shots back," said Poulter, who had the consolation of climbing to third on the Order of Merit. "I only missed one fairway on the 17th and I missed a few putts as well. But my game is miles more consistent since I started working with David Leadbetter. I want to be in the Ryder Cup so it's a nice start."

Choi took a one-shot lead into the final round but was caught as Poulter birdied the first two holes. He jumped back in front in spectacular fashion, however, his second shot from 187 yards diving into the hole without bouncing for an eagle two on the fifth.

There was never more than one shot in it until the closing stages, Poulter, Fasth, Jimenez and Choi all sharing the lead at one stage or another. Even another eagle on the 13th from Choi only edged him ahead by a stroke, and it was not until the closing stretch that the outcome was decided. Fasth bogeyed the 16th and almost simultaneously Choi two-putted the 15th for a birdie in the group behind to stretch his lead to two.

Jimenez then birdied the 18th to claim second place; Choi had hit his approach even closer and holed out for a winning birdie. Jimenez taking second on his own - instead of a three-way tie with Fasth and Poulter - made his 12-foot putt worth an extra 109,620 points and 333,330 in total.

Lee Westwood won a kilo of gold worth approximately £7,500 for a hole-in-one during his final round. Westwood produced an ace at the 226-yard eighth hole with a four-iron in a round of 63.

GERMAN MASTERS (Cologne) Leading final scores (GB or Irl unless stated): 262 KJ Choi (SKor) 63 68 64 67. 264 M A Jimenez (Sp) 67 62 67 68. 265 N Fasth (Swe) 68 67 65 65; I Poulter 65 63 69 68. 268 A Hansen (Den) 69 62 72 65; D Clarke 65 71 65 67; C Rodiles (Sp) 65 65 67 71. 269 M Gronberg (Swe) 68 69 68 64; D Howell 66 69 69 65; M Campbell (NZ) 69 67 66 67; J Moseley (Aus) 68 65 67 69. 270 G Orr 65 66 70 69. 271 L Westwood 71 67 70 63; A Cejka (Ger) 70 69 67 65; H Stenson (Swe) 72 65 68 66. 272 J Rose 69 66 70 67; A Scott (Aus) 66 69 67 70; R Goosen (SA) 68 67 66 71. Selected: 274 P McGinley 67 72 69 66; F Jacobson (Swe) 60 71 70 73; P Casey 65 67 67 75. 278 P Lawrie 69 67 72 70. 279 I Woosnam 67 67 71 74. 281 J M Olazabal (Sp) 72 68 72 69.

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