Year to forget leaves Ian Poulter looking over his shoulder

Poulter has dropped to No 43 in the world rankings after being dogged by injuries in 2014

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The Independent Online

By his own high standards, Ian Poulter has had a year he would rather forget.

He has hurt his shoulder and his back in the gym, damaged a wrist in a fall, and ended up in hospital after being  bitten by a horsefly. He has rarely been in contention and has missed a number of halfway cuts.

Poulter arrived at the BMW Masters in Shanghai this week ranked No. 43 in the world. Only the top 50 are guaranteed a place at the game’s biggest events, so a good  finish to the end of the season is paramount.

After two rounds at Lake Malaren, however, he found himself trailing Nicolas Colsaerts, the big-striking  Belgian, by 13 strokes.

Poulter opened with a 73 and compiled a more respectable 69 in the second round to make it to one under par.

 He has quietly changed from Cobra to Titleist clubs recently, in a contrast to Rory McIlroy’s much-publicised move to Nike two years ago.

“The only club that’s misbehaving is the one that’s been in the bag the longest,” he said. “I’m playing really nicely but I’m not sinking any putts. All the new equipment is brilliant. The driver’s working, the hybrids are working and so are the irons.”

Poulter is playing the next three weeks of the European Tour’s Final Series, which  climaxes at the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai via the HSBC tournament in Shanghai next week and the Turkish Open in a fortnight’s time. Good results there should sort out his world ranking problems.

Lee Westwood hit a hole-in-one in the CIMB Classic in Kuala Lumpur on Friday, helping him to a share of third place at halfway.

“Well that was a pretty special day,” he tweeted after using a hybrid club on the 226-yard 11th hole and seeing his perfectly struck tee shot land 10 feet from the pin and roll inexorably into the hole.