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Poulter in Hong Kong mission

Ian Poulter has made a last-minute dash to play in the Hong Kong Open to make sure he is eligible for next year’s Ryder Cup.

The 39-year-old has become Europe’s talisman in the biennial clash with the USA and has played in the last five editions of the prestigious competition.

But circumstances have conspired against him and he risked not being able to feature in Hazeltine next year after slipping out of the world’s top 50.

The Hitchin-born ace is now down at 51 in the standings, meaning he has not qualified for the WGC-HSBC Champions event in early November and would therefore not have played in the requisite number of European Tour events to qualify for a card next season.

Only members of the Tour are eligible for a place in Darren Clarke’s Ryder Cup dozen and so the 12-time European Tour winner has jetted off to the Far East to take his quota to 13 for the year.

And, according to the Telegraph, the 2008 Open Championship runner-up had Sky Sports commentator Rich Beem to thank for his place in the line-up as the US veteran gave up his spot to allow Poulter to play.

There has been no word yet from European Tour officials but a statement on the unusual late entry is expected to be given in the next 24 hours.

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