Ian Poulter low key on taking No 1 spot

Ian Poulter has his sights set on climbing further up the world rankings after his UBS Hong Kong Open victory yesterday, but stopped short of staking his claim for the No 1 spot.

The 34-year-old from Hertfordshire shot a three-under-par 67 in the final round to finish one stroke ahead of compatriot Simon Dyson and Italian teenager Matteo Manassero. Despite enjoying one of his best seasons to date in which he won the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship and played a pivotal role in Europe's Ryder Cup triumph at Celtic Manor last month, Poulter dropped down the rankings and by the time he arrived in Hong Kong he was 14th in the world.

However, he was in red-hot form throughout the tournament - with a fine 10-under 60 in the second round the highlight - and thoroughly deserved a victory that moves him back inside the world top 10.

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Poulter is confident he can now climb even higher, but after causing a stir among his fellow pros two years ago by insisting he was the only serious challenger to then No 1 Tiger Woods when at his best, he was this time keeping his cards very close to his chest.

"I'll try and win next week first (at the Dubai World Championship)," he said. "I'm not playing the game saying, 'I'm going to get to No 1'. I tried that once before and it didn't work. I think I'll just try winning next week and see how high I can go. Tiger has dropped a lot of points and (Lee) Westwood is world No 1 but if I keep playing well, then who knows? I could get up there."

Victory never really looked in doubt for Poulter, with expected challenges from Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy failing to materialise.

"I felt comfortable all day," he said. "I felt very calm and very relaxed. The way I was hitting it, I was hitting it inside 12 feet pretty much nearly every hole out there. I knew if I kept doing that, I'd be very tough to beat.

"I think that today I actually played better to shoot three under than I did ten under. I don't think I've hit as many good golf shots today in a long time. So it was nice. I've been a bit disappointed with my form over the last couple of weeks, but here I felt as if I just kept going around my business, I'd make a few birdie putts and that would be enough to win - it's very pleasing to do so."

Dyson had been Poulter's only real challenger after reeling off an eagle three on the par-five third before adding three birdies over his next four holes to put himself within touching distance.

But he failed to build on that as he bogeyed the eighth and added just one more birdie coming home to finish with a five-under 65.

"Fair play to Ian, he deserved it," said the Yorkshireman."I could have taken him a bit close if my putter had been hot on the back nine, but it wasn't, so never mind."

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US Open champion McDowell had started the day two strokes behind Poulter but the Northern Irishman finished with a two-under 68 to take fifth place.

Compatriot McIlroy had narrowly missed out on victory at the Hong Kong Golf Club in the last two years but was never really in the title hunt as the final round progressed, finishing in sixth following a 67.

"I'll go to Dubai a little bit disappointed but I know my game is in good shape," said the 21-year-old.

"There were some good highlights for me this week but not enough.

"If I can take the good things to Dubai I think I'll have a good week."