Tue, Sep 22, 2015 - Page 18 News List

Rikard Karlberg tops Martin Kaymer in playoff to secure Open d’Italia title

AFP, MONZA, Italy

Sweden’s Rikard Karlberg on Sunday won his first European Tour event as he defeated Germany’s Martin Kaymer in a playoff to lift the Open d’Italia title at Monza.

The 28-year-old from Gothenburg drained a 15-foot birdie putt at the second playoff hole after a brilliant approach shot from the left rough set up the winning opportunity. Kaymer was also well positioned, but left his 20-footer short of the cup and failed in his bid for a first victory since winning the US Open last year.

Both players had finished 72 holes on 19-under at the par-72 the Golf Club Milano on a clear sunny day in Milan.

“It’s crazy, I told my caddy on the last five holes that we probably needed five birdies to have a chance, and two was enough to get in a playoff and get my first win, and to do it against [Martin] Kaymer, it feels unbelievable,” Karlberg said.

“I just tried to hit the fairway, which I wasn’t even close to doing and just seeing him splitting the fairway felt, ‘okay, I’m not going to win on his mistake, I need to do a birdie,’” Karlberg added.

“I had a perfect yardage on the last shot there and a good lie, thankfully. It was a little bit lucky, but I hit it great. It felt nice,” Karlberg added.

Seven players tied for third place: Sweden’s Joakim Lagergren and Jens Fahrbring; English pair Matthew Fitzpatrick and Danny Willett; Paraguay’s Fabrizio Zanotti; Denmark’s Lucas Bjerregaard; and the US’ David Lipsky.

Kaymer had earlier carved out a two-stroke lead, thanks to four birdies down the front nine, but three bogeys at 10, 13 and 14 opened the door for Karlberg, who pulled level thanks to birdies at 16 and 17.

The Swede, who has two wins on the Asian Tour, missed the fairway at both playoff holes, but scrambled a par at the first and then won the tournament with a cool-headed putt on the second round at the 18th hole.

It would have been the 12th EPGA victory for 30-year-old Kaymer, who won his first major at the 2010 PGA Championship.

Frenchman Romain Wattel, who shared the overnight lead, bogeyed the 17th and finished alone in 10th and two shots back, while amateur Lorenzo Scalise was the highest placed Italian after a brilliant final-round six-under-par 66 left him in a tie for 11th.

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