'Brotherly' Englishmen now must go head-to-head
Ian Poulter and Justin Rose described their partnership at the World Cup last weekend as 'almost brotherly', but it could be more Cain and Abel as the pair go head-to-head for the UBS Hong Kong Open title this week.
The Englishmen shot a final-round 63 in Sunday's foursomes to finish as joint runners-up, and said they hoped to be paired together in the next Ryder Cup at Medinah.
Poulter won in Hong Kong last year with a scintillating course-record 60 in his second round, but Rose is hoping to pinch the title. The course is slightly different, with a remodelled par-3 15th replacing the old second in a bid to provide a tougher challenge. But Poulter argued: 'I don't think it's going to make much difference - if anything, I think the new hole is slightly easier.'
Despite that, the world number 25 is playing down expectations of another record-breaking display: 'The golf course is in the best condition I've seen it. [But] the greens are firmer and they are much faster, so that actually takes it the other way. We all like quick greens, but the fact they are quite firm [means] you won't see the scoring quite as good.' .'
Yesterday's Pro-Am was Rose's first semi-competitive experience on the course after Tuesday's practice round, and he said the more straightforward layout compared to many on tour could actually make life trickier. 'I like it a lot, it's fun to play, it's in good shape,' said the 31-year-old. 'The challenge is making enough birdies to stay with the leaders. Sometimes the harder courses are almost easier to compete on, because if you're playing well a lot of guys are eliminated as the course is so tough.
'You've got to keep the pace, keep moving forward but be patient at the same time. It's the kind of course you can get frustrated on if you're just even par, but you've just got to keep going and trust you'll get your run.'