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Page last updated at 13:30 GMT, Sunday, 18 July 2010 14:30 UK

The Open 2010: Poulter still loves St Andrews

The Open Championship, St Andrews, 15-18 July
Highlights: Red Button, BBC Sport website and iPlayer

Ian Poulter in a bunker at the seventh during his third round at the Open in St Andews
Poulter finished second in the Open two years ago

By Ged Scott
BBC Sport at St Andrews

Ian Poulter ended the 2010 Open as he began it with a one-under 71 to finish three over par for the week.

But, despite the frustration of making five birdies to go out in 32, only to drop four shots in as many holes coming home, Poulter still loves St Andrews.

And, following the changes made at the 17th, he is insistent that the R&A now leave the famous Old Course alone.

"I wouldn't do anything to the course. Best leave it to Mother Nature to take care of the scoring," said Poulter.

"The first day, I've never played this course in a calmer condition.

"It was flat calm and people were getting to eight or nine under on the scoreboard. Then it's carnage on day two.

"You've just got to accept that, if it's flat calm for four days, then 25 under wins, so be it. But, if it's windy, then single digits is a great score."

After making bogey at the Road Hole on the first day before running up a final day double, Poulter was three over par for the week at one of the most famous tests in golf.

606: DEBATE

"It seems more difficult, for sure," he said. "But it was average 4.75 last time and now it's 4.6.

"So," he quipped, "it must go back another 20 yards then, surely?"

In fact, it was not the length of the drive, but the thickness of the immediate rough just off the fairway that earned the Hertfordshire golfer's most discerning observations.

"The rough just left of the fairway is really penal," he told BBC Sport. "The first three yards, where Paul Casey was the other day.

"I hit it three or four inches left and then had to hack an eight iron out. Paul had to chop it out sideways and still missed the first one completely.

"It's very thick. And I'd be quite interested to see how it got that thick. I don't know if they've fertilised it. Just over sprinkled, maybe?

"Is rough supposed to be even, I don't know? It just seems really penal in that area. And you're actually better off being miles left.

"If you got left of the worst rough, you can catch a good lie so you could be better off hitting a worse tee shot."

For all that, Poulter, despite making mistakes on the fairways, recognized that most of his problems this week had come on the greens.

After reaching the turn on the final day with birdies at 3, 5, 6, 7 and 9, marred only by a dropped shot at the fourth, he then added another at 13 and looked on course for a 67 or better - until he blew up on the final stretch.

On the whole, I've played lovely. I've just not been a good enough putter this week

Ian Poulter

"I drove into the Coffins at 13, then three-putted 16 and hit a poor shot at 17 into the rough, knocked it out and three putted for a double," he said.

"But, on the whole, I've played lovely. I've just not been a good enough putter this week.

"The greens were slow yesterday and very slow today but, if you're not going to hole any, you're not going to figure in any golf tournament.

"I've now got two weeks off before going to Akron, followed by the USPGA, then a week off, then it's time to start looking ahead to the Ryder Cup.

"And I'm actually carrying some form going in. I just need to start holing some putts.

"I'll grab a new wand for Akron and see what happens."



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