Sam Torrance: Ian Poulter's return to form at Players Championship can rebuild his trademark confidence

 
Sam Torrance
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THE PLAYERS Championship - Final Round
Poulter thought he had lost his PGA Tour card last month before a U-turn granted him a stay of execution (Source: Getty)

He played brilliantly, almost threw it all away with a shanked second shot at the 18th, but then pulled off a miraculous iron out of the trees to within six inches of the hole to salvage a share of second place at the biggest event outside of the Majors. It was typical Ian Poulter.

His runner-up finish at The Players Championship on Sunday was the latest chapter in a great story.

Poulter looked to have lost his PGA Tour card last month, only for a review of the rules to hand him a reprieve for the rest of the season. Now it looks like he’ll be keeping it beyond that.

Read more: Kim Si-Woo soars to win Players Championship

Losing his card would have been a big blow for the Englishman, who, at 41, is no spring chicken.

Not having anywhere to play next year would have been upsetting, but then he gets it back and – bang – he’s second at The Players, which is like winning any other tournament.

I’ve know Poulter since he was a kid. He is a confident guy and this will remind him how good he can be.

I’m expecting more strong results in the coming months and that is good news for the game, which is a better place for characters like the Ryder Cup star.

Flawless Kim

He was beaten, however, by an amazing performance from Kim Si-Woo, who is just 21 but stood up to whatever anyone threw at him like a veteran.

He did not put a foot wrong in a flawless final round of 69 and looked solid as a rock. It was very impressive.

Butch Harmon says Kim’s swing looks virtually perfect in all positions, and it was my first look at a player who first qualified for a PGA Tour card aged 17 and had to wait six months before being old enough to officially join the circuit.

THE PLAYERS Championship - Final Round
Kim, 21, relied on his scrambling prowess to record a bogey-free final round (Source: Getty)

His scrambling was probably the key. He missed 10 greens in regulation on Sunday yet didn’t make a single bogey.

He is also clearly a player who blows cold and very, very hot.

He went into last week with little form but won by three shots, while he carded a 60 on his way to winning the Wyndham Championship last year.

South Korea has long been a dominant force in women’s golf; maybe Kim’s emergence, and that of compatriots and fellow top-60 ranked players Jeunghun Wang and Byeong Hun An, will help them to replicate that success in the men’s game.

Wallace on the march

Englishman Matt Wallace, meanwhile, continued his meteoric rise by winning his first European Tour title at the Portugal Open in magnificent style at the weekend.

Wallace was playing on the third-tier Alps Tour last year, where he won six times – including five events in a row – and earned membership to the Challenge Tour. Now he’s got a European Tour card.

Open de Portugal - Day Four
Wallace led from start to finish to land his first top-tier title (Source: Getty)

He led from start to finish in Portugal and you have to be really good to do that.

People put pressure on him with low final rounds but he kept his three-shot lead. It was very special.

At 27, he’s not as young as you’d think, but he has now been thrown a big carrot and he’s eaten the whole thing.

I look forward to seeing much more of Wallace in the future.

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