World Tour Championship: Ian Poulter happy to be 'in the hunt' for Europe's No 1 spot


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The Independent Online

Henrik Stenson remains on course to become European No 1 for the first time, although Ian Poulter has not given up hope of spoiling the Swede's bid to make history.

Stenson is looking to become the first man to win the Race to Dubai and FedEx Cup in the same season and is in contention to clinch them both in the same imperious fashion.

The 37-year-old recorded a five-under 67 after his third round at the World Tour Championship in Dubai yesterday – the European Tour's finale – to lead France's Victor Dubuisson by a shot. Poulter, meanwhile, says he is still 'in the hunt' to pip Stenson after ending his round four shots behind.

Stenson does not have to win today to become the second Swedish player after Robert Karlsson to top the money list, but he does not want to think about all the different permutations. "I am trying to avoid all that," the world No 3 said. "I know I can win the Race to Dubai even if I don't win here, but why not try my hardest to win this tournament?"

Poulter can win the title if he is victorious over 72 holes at the Earth course and Stenson fails to finish in the top two.

"I'm right there. I'm hunting," Poulter said. "If I can get off to a decent start tomorrow, it's going to be a fun back nine. If I play like I did today, 62 is realistic."

"I caught him today and I'll catch him tomorrow, it's whether or not I can keep hold of him," Poulter, who is a neighbour of Stenson's alongside fellow Brits Justin Rose and Graeme McDowell in Lake Nona in Florida, added. "I'm pushing really hard on this course and it's easy to make mistakes when you are doing that. I made two bogeys on par threes which is frustrating but I am right in there and I can't ask any more than that."

Poulter has the added motivation of a 100 dollar bet with Stenson, at 10/1, that he will overtake him, with the loser having to act as the winner's personal waiter on a night out as well.

"The odds would be significantly shorter now and I have put myself in position to try to kick his backside tomorrow," Poulter claimed.

"Being European No 1 would be a huge highlight in my career."