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poulter driven to save his year

IAN POULTER will look to salvage his season with a first victory for two years in the DP World Tour Championship, a win which would be worth almost as much in lost pride as money.

Twelve months ago Poulter arrived in Dubai having bet Henrik Stenson $100 that he could catch the Swede at the top of the Race to Dubai, despite facing a hefty deficit.

The loser also had to act as the winner's drinks waiter on a night out and it was Stenson who ended up on top after beating Poulter into second place at Jumeirah Golf Estates.

SECURED

Rory McIlroy has already secured the 2014 Race to Dubai title with a week to spare following his four wins - including two major championships - but Poulter can still climb from 13th into the second place currently occupied by Stenson with a first win since the HSBC Champions in November 2012.

"There's still a big bonus for number two and that would upset the number two right now," joked Poulter, who would claim $1.2million by winning the tournament and an extra $800,000 from the Race to Dubai bonus pool for finishing second behind McIlroy.

"I'm still chasing Mr Stenson down like I was chasing him last year. We haven't had a side wager because there's not quite the same takedown, but I was 64th two weeks ago so to go sixth, second and win this week would move me nicely up."

Poulter would already have been further up if not for squandering a six-shot lead at the halfway stage of last week's Turkish Airlines Open, the Ryder Cup star struggling to a third round of 75 and eventually missing from six feet for a birdie on the 72nd hole to force a play-off with Brooks Koepka.

"I was really annoyed," Poulter admitted. "Saturday was a bad day. It was a little stop-start from Friday afternoon through Saturday. There was a lot of going on. There was a lot of talk: 'Are we going to get it done on Saturday? Is the storm going to pass?' There's electricity, what's happening?'

"So I probably got way too wrapped up in all of that nonsense and not focusing on the job at hand.

"And then when I got on the golf course, I didn't do the job that I needed to do on Saturday which left me obviously some work to do on Sunday.

"I'm very disappointed but I'm over it. I'm moving on to this week.

SPELL

"I feel good about what's just happened in the last couple of weeks. Being 44 in the world rankings coming into this four-week spell was nothing to be proud of but moving up to 26 and hopefully with a big win this week I can put myself back in a position where I salvage something out of 2014, because it was not looking good."

After missing that crucial putt on Sunday, and a few more on the back nine, Poulter received a message on Twitter from former world number one Greg Norman, who said he had seen what was going wrong with the Englishman's putting stroke.

Poulter quickly responded and spoke to Norman on Tuesday night, but was wary about revealing what was said or instantly making changes.

"I know Greg really well and it was really nice of him to reach out," Poulter added. "He noticed a couple of things but I'd like to review the coverage just to see if his observations were my observations as well.


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