Ian Poulter: Hopefully we can go and qualify for the Open Championship

Ian Poulter is eager to replicate the form that saw him win the 2010 Hong Kong Open when he returns to Hong Kong Golf Club next week as he looks to secure his spot in this year’s Open Championship.

The Asian Tour’s World City Championship, which will be held from March 23-26, is part of the Open Qualifying Series, with the leading four players not otherwise exempt qualifying for this year’s Open Championship at Royal Liverpool.

Ryder Cup star Poulter has qualified for every Open since 2002, only absent from the 2016 edition due to injury, but is in danger of missing out this year after tumbling down the Official World Golf Ranking following his move to LIV Golf for a reported $20-$30 million last year.

Next week’s World City Championship could represent his best chance of playing his way into the oldest Major Championship this summer.

“It’s a huge thing for the region to have,” said Poulter.

“I definitely need one of those [places]. That was a secondary thing on my list as a box-ticker. It’s a golf course I know and hopefully we can go and qualify for the Open Championship at the same time.”

The Englishman has fond memories of Hong Kong Golf Club after picking up his tenth DP World Tour title there in 2010, nine months after securing a first PGA Tour title at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship.

“For me 2010 was a highlight year,” said Poulter, who flirted with a first 59 on the DP World Tour with a scintillating second round 10-under-par 60 at Hong Kong Golf Club during his victory.

“To be honest, to be playing the level of golf I was playing, to take that on a golf course like Fanling is always pleasurable.

“It’s one of those old-school golf courses that just keeps getting better.

“So hopefully they haven’t changed the course too much since I last played and all those happy memories can come flooding back on the first day.”

Fellow LIV player Henrik Stenson will join Pouter in Hong Kong, but the Swede is safe in the knowledge he’s already exempt for the Open after overcoming Phil Mickelson in a thrilling final round battle at Royal Troon in 2016.

In contrast to Poulter, this will be the first time Stenson has played the course,  but he won’t be getting any help from his former Ryder Cup teammate.

“This is one of those weeks where this isn’t a team, so I need to be a little selfish,” said Poulter. “Henrik is smart enough to work out how to get around the golf course, so I don’t need to share those tips.”

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