Tue, Oct 07, 2008 - Page 20 News List

Karlsson takes title, leads Order of Merit

AFP , ST ANDREWS, SCOTLAND

Robert Karlsson won his second successive European Tour event as the Swede held his nerve to claim the Dunhill Links Championship in a play-off on Sunday.

Karlsson birdied the first play-off hole at St Andrews to pip Martin Kaymer and Ross Fisher after the trio had finished tied on 10-under.

The £432,000 (US$758,000) first prize takes Karlsson ahead of double major winner Padraig Harrington in the Order of Merit with just four events of the season remaining.

Karlsson, who won the Mercedes-Benz Championship in Germany the week before the Ryder Cup, plans to play one more event before the season-ending Volvo Masters, but Harrington will only compete at Valderrama.

On the race for The Order of Merit, the Swede said: “Obviously that’s a bonus, but when I’m playing out here, you’re just trying to do your best in each event. Padraig has won two majors already, so it’s not down to who is the best player this year.”

Karlsson shot 65 at The Old Course on Sunday to finish with a 10-under total of 278 to take the tournament into a play-off.

He got off to a flying start with three birdies in his first four holes and then picked up shots at the seventh, 10th, 11th and 14th to leapfrog Lee Westwood and Harrington at the top of European standings.

“I played a bad round yesterday [Saturday] and all of a sudden got myself into the play-off and made a birdie on the first hole and was like, oh, that was quick,” Karlsson said.

Kaymer, who shared the overnight lead with Jarmo Sandelin, produced a four-under 68, but will rue his only bogey of the day at the 17th which came when he needed to par the last two holes for victory.

The 23-year-old also missed a birdie putt at the 18th that would have given him the title.

“I think still overall it was a really good week for me. I’m really pleased. Second place, you know I was really close to winning the tournament and it gives me a lot of pleasure,” Kaymer said.

Fisher played the front nine of The Old Course in a five-under 31, the Englishman posting five birdies before reaching the turn.

He picked up a shot at the par four second, another birdie came at the 480-yard fourth and another at the par-five fifth. Back-to-back birdies at the eighth and ninth completed a flawless front nine.

Another birdie came at the 10th, but Fisher dropped his first shot of the day at the par-four 12th.

An eagle at the 618 yard 14th took him to 10-under and that was how he finished.

Sandelin finished in fourth place after a 70 left him on eight-under.

Westwood fired a final round 68 to finish four shots behind the winner, while Harrington carded a 71 and ended a further stroke back.

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