Pumped-up Poulter ready to take on anyone at Birkdale

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Ian Poulter kept himself firmly in contention for the Claret Jug with a second-round 70 in The Open, before bullishly stating he is "ready to go toe-to-toe with anyone this weekend".

As gusting winds and outbreaks of torrential rain made life particularly tough for Friday's afternoon starters, Poulter again performed impressively at Royal Birkdale, where he was the runner-up to Padraig Harrington in 2008.

At three under par through two rounds, the Englishman was tied for third when he reached the clubhouse and set to feature in one of the final groups on Saturday.

After a frustrating period in which he was dogged by injury and a loss of form, Poulter is loving every minute of his timely revival.

"This is a massive bonus for me to be in this position. I haven't played a major for a little while," he said.

"I'm excited. I'm pumped up. I feel my game's coming back.

"The large confidence tank that was empty a few months ago is starting to fill up. And I like it when it gets full up.

"I play some of my best golf when I'm pretty confident. And I'm excited for this weekend; I can't wait. I'm ready to go toe-to-toe with anyone this weekend."