After three solid days at Harbour Town, Ian Poulter scuffled to a 73 on Sunday, leaving him in a massive tie for 11th and still short of locking up his PGA Tour card for the rest of the season.
The English pro was one of 11 players to finish at 8-under 276. He has one start left to earn either $30,624 or 64 FedExCup points that will secure his playing status.
If Poulter had posted a 72, the tie for ninth would have put him over the top.
“I’m a little hot under the collar right now,” he said. “Not disappointed I didn’t get the job done in terms of finishing where I need to finish, but that today could have been a victory and I let it slip.”
A pair of three-putts at Nos. 2 and 7 left him most tormented, along with birdie chances at the front nine’s two par-5s that didn’t convert.
“I could have got it done today, and I should have got it done today,” he said. “I pride myself on being a good putter, but the flatstick didn’t do what I needed to do. I didn’t close out any of the putts I expected to close out.”
It’s fair to say most people don’t react to a hole-in-one the way Peter Malnati did on Sunday.
“What a stupid game!” he said as he tossed his 7-iron in the air.
After a frustrating day in which he felt unrewarded by good shots, a less-than-solid 7-iron at No. 17 had just enough juice to clear the front left bunker. It touched down just beyond the fringe and beelined into the hole.
“It wasn’t really a perfect shot, but the way it ended up sure was perfect,” said Malnati, who still closed with a Sunday 75.
It was Malnati’s fourth ace in his career and second in an eight-month span, paired with one in Greensboro last August. It also was the first at Harbour Town since the 2011 Heritage.
Bring the bombers
Dustin Johnson has played the RBC Heritage just twice and Rory McIlroy once, but count Nick Faldo among those who think they could win at Harbour Town without putting a driver in their bags.
“Absolutely,” said the CBS and Golf Channel analyst, who also owns a tartan jacket from 1984. “That would be a great test for them.
“I bet they’d enjoy it — ‘I’m not going to hit driver this week.’ Actually, it would be the smarted thing they could do. They wouldn’t need them. Put a couple of extra wedges in, or a driving iron.”
The RBC Heritage will serve as the first round of the “MetLife Matchup,” a season-long contest in which fans can vote on the best shot of Saturday and Sunday’s CBS telecasts.
The CBS crew will choose one top shot from Saturday and one from Sunday, with fans voting online during the week for a winner.
“It could be something obvious, like a guy hitting out of a bush and you can’t see him,” Faldo said. “Or it might have a high degree of difficulty.”
Martin Kaymer, for instance, tried a bank shot off the ninth grandstand on Saturday that wound up leading to an unconventional par.
Go to PGATour.com/MetLife to participate in the voting.
Martin Kaymer claimed one of the more adventurous rounds Sunday.
His smoking front-nine 30 included four birdies and an eagle on the par-4 eighth — holing out from 173 yards. After another birdie at 10, Kaymer appeared to be stalking one of the low rounds in Heritage history.
He missed a 3-foot putt for par on No. 11 to start a string of four consecutive bogeys and limped home with a 2-under 69.