Ian and Luke Poulter. Andrew Redington
Ian Poulter has company. And he has the same last name.
The long-time European Ryder Cup stalwart turned LIV Golf member is playing in the Asian Tour’s International Series event at Close House in England. If he thought he was going to show up and get in four casual rounds of competitive golf this week, his plans have now changed.
After three rounds, Poulter’s 19-year-old son Luke is hot on his heals.
Luke Poulter is a freshman on the University of Florida men’s golf team and is playing in his first professional event this week alongside his father. With three holes remaining in Round 2 on Friday, Luke was on the outside of the cut but finished birdie, eagle, par to make the cut on the number. Dad had finished earlier and was there on the ninth hole watching his son complete the first task, greeting him with applause and a hug.
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Now though, it’s getting serious. Ian shot one-over 72 on Saturday while Luke shot three-under 68 to make up four shots during the third round. Ian is tied for 13th place at two-under while Luke is tied for 20th place at even par. Andy Ogletree leads the event at nine-under.
Two other sons competed in the same event, but both missed the cut. Lee Westwood’s son Sam shot 76-79 to miss the weekend. Lee made the cut but shot a third-round 81. Davis Love III’s son Dru shot 76-75.
On a day when the sun came out for the first time this week, although a strong wind accompanied it, unheralded South African Neil Schietekat carded a 66 at Close House, near Newcastle, to sit one back of Ogletree, while Australian Matt Jones (67), Abraham Ancer (69) from Mexico and Spaniard David Puig (70) are a further stroke adrift.
Ogletree, who heads both the Asian Tour and International Series Order of Merits and has been a reserve on the LIV Golf League this year, finished strongly with an eagle on the par-five 16th, followed by a birdie to edge ahead of a stacked leaderboard.
He had started the day one shot behind overnight leader and playing partner Puig, who made a costly triple-bogey on the 12th, where he four putted, to hand the lead to the American.
However, Ogletree missed a two-footer for par on the following hole and saw Jones move in front over the closing stages before his storming finish.
“I stayed patient all day, super tough, you know you got a couple birdie opportunities coming in. Hit a great shot on 16 and ended up making an eagle so that was kind of a bonus,” said the 25-year-old American, who has claimed two International Series titles: in Qatar this year, and Egypt last season.
“It was brutal with the wind. Hit a couple of crazy clubs, like I hit a pitching wedge from 168 and stuff like that. So definitely 20-30 yard wind changes, whether it was into or down so pretty, pretty difficult.”