(Reuters) - Ian Poulter, without a win in more than four years, birdied two of the final four holes to grab the third-round lead at the Puerto Rico Open on Saturday.
World number 67 Poulter, the highest ranked player in the field, made a late decision to travel to the Caribbean island after missing out on a place in this week’s WGC-Dell Match Play event by one spot.
But the Englishman is making his trip worthwhile, a 68 giving him an 11-under 205 total with one round left at Coco Beach.
Americans Tony Finau, Jonathan Byrd and Steve Marino trail by one stroke.
Overnight leader Rafael Campos, seeking to become the first Puerto Rican to win a PGA Tour event since Chi Chi Rodriguez at the 1979 Tallahassee Open, kept his chances alive with a 72 to fall two shots behind.
Poulter, 40, is winless since the 2012 WGC-HSBC Championship in China.
“It’s been a while since I’ve been right there to have an opportunity to win a tournament,” he told PGATour.com.
”I’ve got to take things slowly. I’m trying to improve my swing. I’m trying to improve my consistency on the course.
“There has been a lot of good stuff and lot of bad stuff as well. It’s about time to not allow the bad stuff to kick in, keep persevering, keep working on the swing and hopefully at some stage the adrenaline will kick in and get me across the line.”
American George McNeill, who started the day in second place, was disqualified after the round for having used a non-conforming club, the tour announced.
Reporting by Tim Wharnsby in Toronto; Editing by Andrew Both