Ian Poulters last-minute dash to Hong Kong Open to keep Ryder Cup hopes alive proved to be a wasted trip

Ian Poulter's last-minute dash to Hong Kong Open to keep Ryder Cup hopes alive proved to be a wasted tripPoulter made late Hong Kong dash to keep European Tour membershipEnglish golfer had dropped out of world's top 50 on October 19Only members can qualify for Europe's Ryder Cup team Became ineligible for crucial WGC-HSBC Shanghai Champions event Drop-outs handed Poulter a place in event regardless of Hong Kong trip

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Ian Poulter has learned that his 9,117-mile mad dash from Florida, via New York, to play in the Hong Kong Open was not necessary after all.

Europe’s Ryder Cup superstar made the journey across the world in the belief that he had to play in the event or he would not be eligible for next year’s showdown against the United States due to European Tour membership rules.

But Poulter was added to the field for the HSBC Champions event in China next week after Brandt Snedeker's withdrawal, meaning he would have completed the required quota of 13 Tour events to qualify for membership - and the Ryder Cup - whether he had played in Hong Kong or not.

Ian Poulter's last-minute dash to Hong Kong proved pointless after drop outs for WGC-HSBC Champions event

Ian Poulter's last-minute dash to Hong Kong proved pointless after drop outs for WGC-HSBC Champions event

He dropped out of world's top 50 and would not have played 13 events required for European Tour membership

He dropped out of world's top 50 and would not have played 13 events required for European Tour membership

The 39-year-old Englishman had lost his place in the field in China after suddenly falling out of the world’s top 50, and described when he realised he might miss the Ryder Cup as an ‘Oh s*** moment’.

Poulter took the news in good spirits, saying on Twitter: ‘I guess it was meant to be......’

He is playing this week in the Turkish Airlines Open, the first of the European Tour’s big-money, season-ending Final Series that will see Europe’s No 1 crowned in Dubai next month

After a troubled year on and off the course, Lee Westwood ‘finally clicked’ to shoot a superb eight-under par round of 64.

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But that still was not enough to lead the tournament after South African Jaco van Zyl broke the course record with a staggering 11-under-par 61.

Rory McIlroy did his hopes of winning the Race to Dubai no harm with a highly-promising round of 67 to sit six shots back.

‘I haven't played very well this year at all,’ said Westwood, who has barely featured on a leaderboard and split from his wife of 16 years, Laurae, this year. 

Lee Westwood hit an impressive 64 but trails leader Jaco van Zyl by a quite remarkable three shots

Lee Westwood hit an impressive 64 but trails leader Jaco van Zyl by a quite remarkable three shots

Van Zyl seized the initiative to take advantage of free scoring conditions to post his 11-under-par round 

Van Zyl seized the initiative to take advantage of free scoring conditions to post his 11-under-par round 

The 42-year-old puts his sudden resurgence down to work done with coach Mike Walker and fitness trainer Keith Duffy on improving movement in his hips.

‘I'm no spring chicken anymore,’ said Westwood. ‘I'm trying to train my way out of it now and get back to where I was.’

He also battled through a heavy cold to shoot his superb score. ‘Maybe (the cold) focuses me,’ he said, before joking: ‘Don’t kiss me!’ 

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