Ian Poulter missed out on the chance to win his second PGA Tour title in just three weeks – and go a long way to securing his spot in the European Ryder Cup team – when shooting a final round 75 at the RBC Heritage in South Carolina
The 42 year old, who won the Houston Open earlier in the month for his first ever stroke play victory in America, was leading the field at Harbour Town Golf Links by just one shot after the third round, but the closed the week with a three-over-par 75 to miss out on his second win of the year.
Poulter was one under par at the turn, but he bogeyed five holes on the back nine, including four of the last five, to tumble down the leaderboard into a share of seventh place.
Poulter’s struggles opened the door for Japan’s Satoshi Kodaira, who came from six shots off the pace, to claim his first PGA Tour title following a three-hole playoff with South Korea’s Si-woo Kim.
Kodaira, 28, picked up strokes at each of the first three holes and finished five-under for the day to thrust himself into the mix having started the round in 12th. Both Kodaira and Kim bogeyed the par-three 17th in their final round to finish locked on 12 under for 72 holes, but the tournament was settled when the pair revisited it head-to-head. After two attempts at the 18th ended in stalemate fours, Kodaira sank a 25-foot birdie putt to land the $1m winner’s cheque.
Kodaira, who was ranked world no.46 before the tournament, said: “To win this quickly on the PGA Tour is a big surprise to me. At the beginning of the final round I was just hoping to finish inside the top 10, and earn a place in next week’s event, so I’m really pleased with how things turned out.
I felt very comfortable on this course, as it is very similar to some of the courses in Japan. I had a lot of birdie chances and hit a lot of great shots. I’m going to accept PGA Tour membership now, and having the chance to full-time here is a dream come true.
SATOSHI KODAIRA’S WINNING BAG
Driver: PRGR RS Prototype (10.5)
Fairway Woods: TaylorMade M2 2017 (15), PRGR iD Nabla (18)
Driving Iron: PRGR iD Nabla RS Tour (3)
Irons: PRGR Tune (4-PW)
Wedges: PRGR iD Nabla Tour (52), Fourteen Golf RM-22 (60)
Putter: Scotty Cameron Prototype
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x