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Poulter aims to rise through ranks and net spot at Open


By Phil Casey

Ian Poulter hopes a return to next year's Ryder Cup venue can spark a rise up the world rankings which could lead to playing seven tournaments in succession this summer.

Poulter has never missed the cut in 11 appearances in the HNA Open de France at Le Golf National, which will host the biennial contest between Europe and the United States - in which Poulter has often been a key figure - in September 2018.

The 41-year-old was third in 2006 and 2009 and fourth in 2012 and needs similarly good performances in his next three starts to claim one of the nine available places at Royal Birkdale via the Open Qualifying Series.

Moving into the world's top 50 from his current position of 81st would also secure a place in the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational ahead of the final Major of the year, the US PGA Championship at Quail Hollow.

"I've spent a couple of weeks resting, preparing, to come into the series of events right here, which is quite important," said Poulter, who was second in the Players Championship at Sawgrass in May. "This week is a week where I've performed very well in the past. Hopefully we can have another one this week.

"I've got my sights on playing some really good golf over the next number of weeks. It's potentially a very long schedule and that's why I've taken a couple of weeks off.

"If I can play the way I'd like to play in the next three events, French Open, Irish Open, Scottish Open, somehow make my way obviously into The Open Championship, that's four in a row.

"I'm playing the Canadian Open, that's five. If I bring myself into the top 50 in the world, WGC is the week after and then the US PGA. Hopefully I can go on a long run, win a couple of tournaments and move up in the rankings."

The leading three players, who are not already exempt, who finish in the top 10 in Paris will earn a place in the Open, although Poulter has the back-up of Tuesday's 36-hole final qualifier at his home club of Woburn.

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