The 40-year-old, who opted to play in the former Portuguese colony rather than the British Masters, managed four birdies but blotted his copybook with a triple bogey at the 10th and a bogey at the fifth to sign for a 71 in the Far East.
It left him down in a share of 14th place, five adrift of India duo Anirbarn Lahiri and S Chikkarangappa, who lead by one shot with just 18 holes to go at Macau Golf and Country Club.
Poulter has been out of action for 14 weeks due to injury and now has to play 10 PGA Tour events and earn a specific amount of money to retain his playing privileges.
Next week's CIMB Classic in Malaysia is the first of those and the Ryder Cup legend wanted an outing in Asia the week before to reduce his travelling time ahead of the Kuala Lumpur event.
He began well with a 64 but Friday's 73 brought him back down to earth and it appears as though the Englishman will now be playing for the minor places on Sunday.
Five players share second place on -9, with Spain's Carlos Pigem among them, while Thailand's Chapchai Nirat has sole possession of eighth place on eight-under par.