(Adds overall score in para 3)
By Tony Jimenez
DUBAI, Nov 24 (Reuters) - Europe’s Ryder Cup hero Ian Poulter dusted off lingering jetlag to fire a flawless five-under-par 67 in the third round of the DP World Tour Championship.
The 36-year-old Briton was unable to make much impression on the leaders in the first two rounds of the final tournament of the European Tour season but he appeared reinvigorated on Saturday.
“I was tired the first couple of days and made a few silly mistakes,” Poulter told Reuters in an interview after returning a seven-under total of 209 on a hot but overcast day in the desert.
”Sometimes, when you’re flying all around the world it’s difficult to keep your energy levels high.
“When you fly from China to Orlando, from Orlando to Los Angeles, from Los Angeles to Melbourne and from Melbourne to Dubai, there is some stage in that trip when you are going to feel a little tired.”
Despite the fatigue, it has been a rewarding few weeks for the Florida-based Englishman.
Poulter, the inspiration behind Europe’s Ryder Cup victory over the United States in Illinois in September, came fourth at the BMW Masters in China at the end of last month before winning the WGC-Champions Tournament in the same country a week later.
The world number 13 then flew to Melbourne to defend the Australian Masters title he won in 2011 and finished second behind local favourite Adam Scott.
”That was a clean round of golf today,“ said Poulter. ”I shot five under par but I‘m a bit disappointed to be honest.
”I probably left five shots on the course; shots hanging on the edge of the green that if they move four or five inches would roll down to the hole.
“It’s a shame I was tired the first two days. I played nicely today and that five under could easily have been eight or 10 under - I should have taken a lot more out of the golf course.”
Poulter, 12 times a winner on the European Tour, said he was now looking to eliminate those errors in Sunday’s final round.
“That round today moved me back up the leaderboard and maybe I can get that low round I was expecting tomorrow,” he said.
“The winds are starting to pick up a little but you would expect the leaders to go out and shoot at least four or five under later,” added Poulter.
“They are playing well and the greens are pure so that means they should be making a few birdies. I can get myself a respectable finish tomorrow by not making any mistakes and making a few birdies.”
The top professionals often go back out to the practice range or the putting green at the end of a round but Poulter said both would be out of bounds for him.
“I‘m just going to go back to the hotel room and chill out,” he said. (Editing by Clare Fallon)