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Michael Taylor 20th Apr 2010 - 9:44

Pile on Poulter for Zurich Classic success

If you asked the casual golf fan what their impression of Ian Poulter is they'd probably offer a retort along the lines of 'gaudy trousers, average talent' however, this season, he's proving there may be just be a little more than meets the eye.

It's insulting to say the only defining aspect of Ian Poulter is his ability to wear some of the most ridiculous clothing in golf history, after all he was touted as one of British golf's raising stars when he first joined the European Tour back in 2000.

The results unfortunately haven't been quite as free flowing as many expected though, that is until this year where he claimed his best result to date, a first place in the WGC Accenture Match Play.

Since then Poulter has seemingly become a very real threat in every tournament as his showed by tying for the lead at the halfway mark in the recent US Masters at Augusta - indeed the Buckinghamshire golfer ultimately came away disappointed after closing rounds of 74 and 73 pushed him back into a tie for 10th.

It does show how far he has progressed this year and you have to fancy he'll head to the Zurich Classic of New Orleans this week confident of claiming a second career and season Tour title.

It isn't just his excellent consistency that holds him in good stead either, it's the TPC Louisiana track that offers enough opportunities for his game to thrive.

Last year, when he struggled to find the greens far too often for his liking, he still managed to tie for 13th while boasting a remarkable average of 25.25 putts per round - over 3.5 putts better than the field average.

Poulter knows that if he can get his ball on to the putting surface then the tournament really is his for the taking and I know I'm fully backing him to do so at what could be an excellent price of 14/1.

One of the big danger men he will have to pass is streaky Korean KJ Choi, a former winner of the event back in 2002 when played at the English Turn and Country Club.

If you looked at the record books you'd say Choi's season has been excellent with nine made cuts out of a possible nine, one second place, two top 10s, six top 25s and a current ranking of 13th in the FedEx Cup standings.

However, all those numbers don't allow you to see just how sublime things could have been had it not been for final round, even final back nine, jitters.

The Masters was the best example has his gloriously marched to the head of the leaderboard heading into Amen Corner only to lose form and eventually fall back to an eventually rather lacklustre tied fourth.

Choi's major strength is his consistency with his stats putting him a whisker ahead of the Tour average in nearly every category, the key now has to be getting the edge back that saw him win seven Tour events last decade.

Admittedly he's hard to back after falling short all to regularly this season but you do get the feeling that it's more a case of when, not if, he'll win his next title - and if it's this week you'll be paid out at 18/1.

Finally, if you're looking for a lively outsider this week then you could do a lot worse than unlucky Englishman Brian Davis at 66/1.

After a bizarre two shot penalty cost him a chance of landing a first title on the PGA Tour in last week's Verizon Heritage he'll be chomping at the bit to get back from where he left off.

His ability to make pars on the tougher holes should hold him in good stead with a few tricky pothole bunkers potentially causing problems for the entire field throughout the week.

He isn't long off the tee but he is accurate so if he can continue to swing a hot putter then don't be surprised if he's in contention for the second time in as many weeks.

 

 
 
 

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