Golf

Ian Poulter credits not-so-friendly matches against son Luke over Christmas for his sharp start

Ian Poulter credits not-so-friendly matches against 17-year-old son Luke over Christmas for his sharp start to the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

  • Ian Poulter has found the perfect sparring partner – his 17-year-old son Luke
  • A family rivalry over Christmas proved ideal preparation for the new season
  • Poulter assembled an impressive 66 in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship
  • He was even heading for the third lowest round of his European Tour career
  • Poulter attributed that sharpness to fending off Luke in not-so-friendly matches 


Ian Poulter has found the perfect sparring partner as he bids to keep up with the young guns on the DP World Tour — his 17-year-old son Luke.

An intense family rivalry over the Christmas break proved ideal preparation for the new season as the Englishman assembled an impressive 66 in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship in his first competitive round since celebrating his 46th birthday.

At one stage Poulter looked to be heading for the third lowest round of his European Tour career until a double bogey at the 16th but he was not about to get greedy.

Ian Poulter (above) has found the perfect sparring partner as he bids to keep up with the young guns on the DP World Tour — his 17-year-old son Luke

Ian Poulter (above) has found the perfect sparring partner as he bids to keep up with the young guns on the DP World Tour — his 17-year-old son Luke

‘You never know with your first round of the campaign and I’ve had plenty worse than that over the years,’ he said. ‘I hit a lot of very good shots.’

Poulter attributed that sharpness to fending off Luke in not-so-friendly matches in the Bahamas. 

‘He’s not beaten me yet and he’s desperate to pull it off,’ said Poulter. ‘He blows the ball 30 yards past me and it will happen one day. But he’s going to have to really earn it. I’m not going to just let him win.’

The rivalry proved ideal preparation for the new season as he assembled an impressive 66 in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship in his first competitive round since his 46th birthday

The rivalry proved ideal preparation for the new season as he assembled an impressive 66 in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship in his first competitive round since his 46th birthday

Another incentive for making a fast start is that the usual cherished invitation to the Masters did not arrive in the post. 

He needed to be in the world’s top 50 on December 31 — and was 53rd. Now 56th, he needs to clamber up at least six spots by the next cut-off date in March and a victory here would solve all his problems.

Poulter’s six-under-par opening round left him in a tie for fourth with, among others, defending champion Tyrrell Hatton. Early pacemaker is Scott Jamieson from Scotland, who shot a course-record 63, one ahead of Viktor Hovland.

As for the two biggest names, Rory McIlroy and Collin Morikawa scored 72 and 73 respectively. 


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