Poulter takes control at Australian Masters
Australian Masters defending champion Ian Poulter will take a one-shot lead over Australia's Adam Scott into what looms as a tantalising Sunday shoot-out at Melbourne's Kingston Heath.
Poulter came from five shots off the lead at the start of Saturday's third round, shooting an eight-under-par 64, the round of the tournament so far, to seize the outright lead on 13-under.
Scott, who started the day three shots behind fellow Queenslander Matthew Guyatt - the leader for the first two days - shot 67 to climb to 12-under-par.
Guyatt, who started the day at 10-under, could manage only a 75 to be six shots from the lead, alone in third spot on seven-under.
His playing partner, New Zealand's Michael Hendry, who was outright second on Friday night, faltered badly with a 79 to fall 12 shots from the lead.
Scott, Australia's top-ranked player, is seeking his first Masters title and first win for the year, while Englishman Poulter is coming off a victory at his last start, when he charged home to win the HSBC Champions tournament in China.
While Scott can expect to have the crowd on his side on Sunday, that is unlikely to bother Poulter.
The Englishman amply demonstrated both his ability to perform on enemy territory and his love of head-to-head battles in spearheading Europe's remarkable Ryder Cup win in Chicago in September.
He also produced some stunning golf on Saturday.
Poulter notched eight birdies in his first 15 holes, helped by outstanding work with the putter, most notably sinking a monster birdie putt from off the front of the green on the seventh.
Scott's ball-striking was the key to his climb.
By the time the pair completed the eighth hole, they had joined Guyatt in the lead and overtook him soon after, with Poulter and Scott then exchanging the lead several times on the back nine.
They both reached 13-under after they birdied the par-three 15th, at which stage Poulter was threatening to match the course record of 63.
But both he and Scott dropped a shot on the par-four 16th and Scott let another go on the 17th to leave Poulter alone at the top.
Poulter then fired in a near-perfect second shot to set up a tap-in birdie at the last with Scott holing a good-sized putt to stay within a shot.