Ian Poulter packed his bags, literally, after the first day of the Houston Open on Thursday.
He was 1-over par after 17 holes and had no idea where he was headed. In frustration, he was ready to head home. Two days later when he starts to pack, he may be sending his wares to Augusta National and the Masters.
Poulter holds the 54-hole lead at the Houston Open and is in position to take the 88th and final bid to the Masters if he can hold on for the title on Sunday afternoon.
For Poulter, the reversal of fortune from a week ago is stark.
Poulter had his world rocked the previous Saturday when he was told he had accumulated enough points to break into the Top-50 in the world and gain an entrance into the Masters only to find out later that wasn’t the case. Minutes before he was to tee-off in the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play against Kevin Kisner, he learned that he had to win the match to make the Masters. If not, he was out. Poulter was beaten and vented after the match.
A disgusted Poulter wasn’t even sure if he would show up in Houston. And, after a 1-over par through 17 in the first round on Thursday, packed his bags for the quick exit.
Then, a funny thing happened on Friday for Poulter. Instead of missing the cut and soothing his wounds back home, he made a run in Houston with an 8-under for a share of the lead.
That continued on Saturday as he holds the 54-hole lead with Beau Hosler.
Well I guess I managed to pull my head out of my orifice… -8 today was getting it done.. Took myself out of the tournament yesterday and back in it today..
The flat stick was really good holes some really nice putts..
Time to go unpack my luggage back into my hotel room… ?? pic.twitter.com/QppZ9eT7BA
— Ian Poulter (@IanJamesPoulter) March 30, 2018
The turnaround for Poulter is stunning.
“I’m in a funny position, right? I said to you guys I’ve got no expectations going out on the golf course. I didn’t have any expectations, I just went out and played golf,” Poulter said, per the Golf Channel. “There’s a good group of players right now that are currently just behind that are going to be pressing, so I need to press as well.”
Poulter regrouped from the acrimony of a week ago to shoot a 64 and 65 over the second and third round to set up a chance at the coveted final bid to the Masters, which goes to the Houston Open champion. He is one of 12 players within three shots of the lead, and it will make a Sunday afternoon of high drama.
On Sunday, Poulter won’t have to worry about rankings, points or whether he is in the Masters mathematically or not. His destiny is in his own hands.
Win, and he can pack his bags to Magnolia Lane.