16 July, 2017
I mean, I think 12 was about as tough as I've ever seen in terms of wind and rain.
Poulter managed to control his swing, ball, and temperament in what he described as a "brutally tough" back nine, during which he was delighted to make only one bogey.
Poulter's last tournament victory was the WGC Champions in Shenzhen, China, in November 2012.
Harrington set the tone by missing a two-foot par putt on the opening hole and he dropped a further three shots on the front nine as he struggled with his putter in the crosswinds.
Knappe triple-bogeyed the fourth after getting into trouble off the tee and he also had three bogeys in four holes from the 10th, but three birdies kept him in contention before another bogey at the last left him in a nine-way tie for eighth place on five under.
Ten days ago, the sometimes outspoken English golfer brilliantly let his clubs do the talking in qualifying for next week's British Open where in 2008 he recorded a career best finish in all of his 53 Major showings of second. Starting in a share of the lead, Harrington missed two-footers for par on Nos. When Brian Gay alerted officials to a discrepancy in the points structure used for players competing with a medical exemption, Poulter got a reprieve. "I'm in a good mental state", he said. "You can beat yourself up before you get on the golf course, which is a problem". "I was waiting for the ambulance to appear on the 18th tee because there were a lot of sirens going off in my head. You know it's links golf".
For players who have not qualified for this week's Open Championship at Royal Birkdale, three places are available with a top- 10 finish.
"If I were to qualify for The Open my wife and I will be glad to change the holiday in NY and head south instead to Birkdale", he smiled. Poulter would have been entitled to reflect on a job well done after his performance at Sawgrass in May secured the Englishman's PGA Tour status for next season.
Two shots further back is fellow Englishman Sullivan, a three time Tour victor two years ago, who finished bogey, birdie and eagle in his score of 67. "We knew it was going to be really tough today but I didn't think they would be quite as bad as they were".