Poulter climbs to within one of Scott after third round of Singapore Open

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Defending champion Ian Poulter kept his eye on the ball Saturday despite the distractions of Singapore's harbor and city skyline looming behind Sentosa Golf Club.
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PA Sport and Associated Press

Series:

Adam Scott shot a 2-under 69 Saturday to take a one-stroke lead into the final round of the $6 million Barclays Singapore Open, a tournament he has won twice before at the Sentosa Golf Club.

Scott, who won here in 2005 and 2006, had a 3-round total of 14-under 199.

Defending champion Ian Poulter of England and Kang Kyung-nam of South Korea were tied for second place, Kang after a 67 and Poulter following a 68. In fourth place, another stroke behind, was U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland.

Phil Mickelson fell off the pace with a 75 that left him 12 strokes behind the lead in the event co-sactioned by the European Tour and Asian Tour.

Scott started the day with a two-shot lead over his playing partner Poulter and the lead was exchanged several times throughout the afternoon. Kang recovered from a double-bogey 7 on the seventh hole to get five straight birdies for a 30 on the back nine.

"It wasn't easy out there today," Scott said. "It was hot and it was a long round and I wasn't feeling on top of a lot of aspects of my game at times."

"I'd love to go out tomorrow and play really solid and whatever happens, happens,” he added. “If I play solid, I think I can get it done, but if it's not enough then I will have to come back and try again next year."

Poulter was pleased to have cut the deficit to one stroke after a round that took almost six hours to complete.

"I played nicely," Poulter said. "I think I missed one green and that was about 5 feet out, so I actually hit about 18 greens in regulation. But Adam played well as well so I think tomorrow is going to be a great day. Hopefully I can go out there and play just as well and roll a few more putts in and who knows -- I might just get my hands on the trophy again.

"We are mates off the golf course, I have known Adam for about 12 years,” he added. “You get 40 or 50 seconds to stand over your shot, concentrate, and pull the trigger. Obviously you have time to relax between shots and Adam is a great and nice guy to talk to."

Holding the clubhouse lead overnight, Scott was 2 under over the front nine as birdies at the second, fourth and seventh were offset by a bogey-5 at the third.

However, the 30-year-old was unable to build on that platform coming home, bogeying the 10th but recovering the shot at the 16th. He missed a short birdie chance on the last following an excellent wedge approach at the par 5 that could have opened a crucial two-shot cushion.

Poulter fired a blistering 63 Friday and carried that form over into the third round, with a birdie at the second before eagling the fourth to quickly move to 13 under par. That proved the end of the Englishman's progress, however, as a birdie at the 10th was cancelled out with a dropped shot at the 14th, and he did well to save par at the last after finding the bunker off the tee.

McDowell is alone in fourth place after signing for his 68 which featured four birdies and just one bogey, and the Northern Irishman is also well placed to cut into Martin Kaymer's lead in the Race to Dubai standings with the German in a tie for 14th on 7 under par.

McDowell, meanwhile, stressed he would focus on his own game tomorrow and let everything else take care of itself.

"It's important that I focus on my own game as there's nothing I can do about Kaymer," he said. "It's not rugby and I can't go out there and tackle him -- all I can do is to concentrate on my own ball. I've got a big day tomorrow and it's a big day for The Race to Dubai. I've got to stay focused and play my game."