Poulter rages at inconsiderate fans as Karlsson sets pace
A furious Ian Poulter remained in contention for a first victory in five years despite a costly incident on day three of the £3million British Masters.
Poulter recovered from an early double bogey at Close House to card a 68 and finish in a five-way tie for second on 11 under par, a shot behind Sweden's Robert Karlsson.
The former Ryder Cup star found the water with his tee shot on the par-three fifth after being distracted by spectators taking pictures on their phones and was still seething hours later.
" What are we doing?" an irate Poulter said. "We've allowed them all to take pictures and videos and tell them to put them on silent, and it doesn't work does it?
"You get distracted on the wrong hole at the wrong time and it's extremely penal and it's really f****** annoying."
Asked if mobile phones should be banned - as they are at Augusta National for the Masters - Poulter added: " No, I just think people need to educate themselves and understand it's an issue for us and them.
"They don't realise they distract us as much as they do. Ninety nine per cent of them are on silent and unfortunately there's a couple which are not. You're not expecting it because you think they've got it on silent.
"I'm angry and am going to continue to be angry until I wake up tomorrow morning. Throwing shots away for no reason is really annoying."
Karlsson's last European Tour title came back in 2010, but the Ryder Cup vice-captain's 67 was enough to leave him a shot ahead of Poulter, Tyrrell Hatton, Graeme Storm, Paul Dunne and Richie Ramsay.
Hatton held a three-shot lead at halfway, but could only card a 71 after two bogeys in the last four holes, while tournament host Lee Westwood dropped three shots in the last six holes - his first bogeys all week - to fall three off the pace.
However, there was better news for late entry Rory McIlroy, who admitted his competitive juices were flowing again after a superb 64 took him to within two shots of the lead alongside Shane Lowry, Chris Hanson, George Coetzee and David Lingmerth.
" You get yourself into contention and you start to think about things and it would be nice to get a win," said McIlroy, who had previously insisted he was unconcerned about possibly just the second winless season of his career, a season which will come to a self-imposed early end next week.
" The crowds have been fantastic. The last couple of tournaments I've been off pretty early on the weekends and had 50 people following me, where there's thousands out there so it's nice to get into that sort of environment again."
Storm was equally happy to see McIlroy's name in the frame, having beaten the Northern Irishman in a play-off for the South African Open in January.
"I saw his name go on the leaderboard and I was thinking this could be a bit of an omen, something which could be great for me again," Hartlepool native Storm said.
"I'm disappointed I'm not leading the tournament to be perfectly honest. I missed short putts on 12, 13 and 14 and should have been sitting pretty on the top of the leaderboard, b ut we're in with a shout and that's all I can do."
With the course set up for low scoring, Ramsay was one of those to take advantage of the shortened ninth hole, driving the green on the par four and holing from 15 feet for eagle.
"I' ve just been there or thereabouts for a long, long time and I feel that getting in the mix tomorrow, back nine on Sunday, I just love it," Ramsay said after a bogey-free 65.
"Pressure is just brilliant. Put me in that position, it's the best place you can be. All the practice and it comes down the stretch under the pressure with a great field and also a great turnout, I can't wait for it."