PGA Tour: Ian Poulter’s quest for RBC Heritage title breaks down on back nine

Poulter, 42 went into the final day of a sixth straight PGA Tour event leading by a shot and determined to become only the second Englishman to claim the South Carolina title.

The Woburn golfer had moved one shot clear of the field on day three of the 50th anniversary event but Poulter admitted he wondered how he could still be awake given his long run of events.

Then soon into the last day Poulter soon found himself in a three-way tie for the lead when he two-putted the par-5 second hole from 13-feet for par when his nearest rivals walked off with birdies.

‘Poults’ dropped a first shot at the third hole but got back to within a shot of the lead with a virtual tap-in birdie at five.

He birdied the ninth but came to the back nine clearly running on the smell of an oily rag and stumbling down the board with back nine bogeys at the 10th, 13th, 14th, 16 and 17th holes.

Given Poulter’s heavy schedule it comes as no surprise he’s not entered this coming week’s Valero Texas Open.

Korean Si Woo Kim (71) and Japan’s Satoshi Kodaira (66) were headed to a play-off after ending regulation play tied at 12-under and with the 28-year old Kodaira winning with a birdie at the third extra hole.

Kodaira, and a prolific winner in his native Japan, was competing on an invitation but now will take-up full PGA Tour membership along with banking a cool $1.2m first prize cheque.

Prior to teeing-up in South Carolina Kodaria had played in just 13 PGA Tour counting events including sharing 28th place in last week’s Masters while just four of those events were ‘regular’ tournaments.

“This is a stage of my career I’ve been dreaming about,” he said.

“Having this opportunity to play full-time is a dream come true.

“So, of course, I will accept the full-time membership.”

And Kodaira spoke of the inspiration he’s gleaned in watching Japan’s leading golfer, Hideki Matsuyama.

“I’ve been watching Hideki Matsuyama in Japan, and I’ve always looked up to him or wanted to play just as well”, he said.

“So, I feel that I’m getting closer to that level. So I’d like to do my best in major championships and hopefully work hard at it.”

The decision to bring tee times well forward due to a dangerous storm paid off with officials urging spectators to leave early and also cancelling any the 18th green presentation.

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