Indeed, no-one would begrudge Lowry a first title in three-and-a-half years, or to see him climb back inside the all-important world’s top 50, a status that would all but guarantee him a place at the Masters. However, Martin Kaymer will confirm that Abu Dhabi Golf Club has a penchant for tripping up front-runners.
Despite having won this title on three previous occasions, the German famously blew a 10-shot lead with 13 holes left to hand victory to a then unknown French rookie in Gary Stal. And certainly Poulter believes his chase to be far from forlorn, after he eagled the last courtesy of a brilliant 260-yard three-wood to 18 feet.
“The bunkers are inconsistent here so anything is possible,” he said, following his 69. “I skulled two out of them and my mission was then to stay away from them. I just need to go for it tomorrow and keep up the pressure.”
Poulter was not the only veteran Englishman to suffer in the sand. During a 73, which saw him fall back to nine-under, Lee Westwood calculated that he been in the trap on 13 occasions, a stat which he believes “must be some sort of record”. “Is that in another bunker dear?” Westwood said. “Yes it most certainly is Poppet!”