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VIRGINIA WATER, England, (Reuters) - Two of English golf's favourite sons experienced mixed fortunes at the BMW PGA Championship on Friday, Lee Westwood boosting his title chances while Ian Poulter called his putting "absolutely shocking".
Former world number one Westwood, who is making his 24th appearance in the European Tour's flagship event but has yet to lift the trophy, followed up his opening 70 with a three-under 69 in the second round.
"I played well both days," the 44-year-old told reporters after his five-under aggregate of 139 left him two strokes adrift of clubhouse leader Thomas Pieters of Belgium.
"I've only made two bogeys in two days, it's looking good. Hopefully, I keep playing like this and stay in contention."
Poulter fought back well after slumping to a first-round 76, battling his way to a 69 to all but extinguish fears that he might miss the halfway cut.
However, the player known as "Mr Ryder Cup" for his exploits in the biennial team event, was far from satisfied with his one-over-par tally of 145.
"I had 34 putts," said Poulter. "I'm really frustrated. It was absolutely shocking today. Not good enough. Unacceptable.
"I don't know how many words to describe how poor I thought it was. It was pathetic, it really was."
Poulter was especially unhappy that he failed to cash in on a series of makeable putts on the back nine.
"I had chances all the way down the stretch coming in," said the 41-year-old. "I holed a 20-footer on 10 which was great. I holed a 15-footer for eagle on 12 and from there on in I had really good opportunities to birdie all the way back to the clubhouse."
Never one to dwell too long on a negative, however, Arsenal fan Poulter quickly put a positive spin on the fact that he will not be among the late starters in Saturday's third round.
"Going to have to get up at five in the morning but the plus is I'll be able to watch Arsenal beat Chelsea tomorrow (in the FA Cup final at Wembley)," he joked.
Editing by Ed Osmond