• Betting Bunker

Poulter to fuel Ryder Cup push in China

Josh Williams April 18, 2012
Ian Poulter finished in the top ten at Augusta recently © Getty Images
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Click here to bet on the China Open at bet365

Ian Poulter once again displayed his showmanship at The Masters, revelling in the big occasion to mount a final-day surge which, ultimately, couldn't quite get him over the line.

The Englishman has had a patchy couple of years, yet with the eyes of the world on him he seems able to find another gear - look at his fine Ryder Cup record. And given this is a Ryder Cup year and he's far from certain of an automatic place in Jose Maria Olazabal's squad, we should expect him to produce some magic soon.

The only time recently he's lived up to his notorious claim that he and Tiger Woods were in a league of their own was towards the start of 2010, when he began the season with his putter (and scrambling generally) in red-hot form. There were signs he'd returned to that sort of form during Augusta, with his natural shot-making gifts on and around the greens - the sort of stuff you can't really teach - back to somewhere near their best. A seventh-place Masters finish was really good going, especially when you see how Rory McIlroy and Woods, amongst others, struggled.

Williams' wagers

  • Ian Poulter E/W - 12/1 at bet365
    Ross Fisher E/W - 50/1 at bet365

And that's why I'm going to make him the headline pick for this week's China Open - as well as because he enjoys playing in Asia, and because this is a Links-style course. He's shown a fondness for Links in the past, notably when he came so close to winning the 2008 Open Championship, and that's something that isn't necessarily true for much of the field. In truth, it's a line-up that, on his day, he should be too strong for.

This is a long course, and a tournament won by big-hitting Nicolas Colsaerts last year, which ordinarily would perhaps make me wary of backing Poulter - but the forecast suggests a few gusts, and that may well suit him right down to the ground. To quote his Twitter page: "Looks like it's going to be a very windy tournament, which I like very much, lots of shot making required."

Already a winner in Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan, it would be no surprise if Poulter added another to that list, maintaining his Ryder Cup push in the process.

At slightly longer odds, a bomber from the tee, Ross Fisher, appeals to me - he shone early on at The Masters as he showed signs he was beginning to get used to the new equipment he is bedding in, plus he has power and Links knowledge on his side. Odds of 50/1 seem a little generous for a player who'll also want to make another Ryder Cup team.

Please note that odds are correct at time of publication and are subject to change.

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Josh Williams is an assistant editor of ESPN.co.uk