Karlsson Hangs on to Win in Wales

By Sports NetworkJune 4, 2006, 4:00 pm
NEWPORT, Wales -- Robert Karlsson started Sunday in search of several European Tour records. Instead, he stumbled to a 2-over 71, which was still good enough for a three-stroke win at the Wales Open.
 
The Swede ended the tournament at 16-under-par 260. That was good enough for the tournament record. Miguel Angel Jimenez had set the old mark of 262 just last year.
 
Karlsson only needed to shoot even par in the final round to tie the European Tour record for lowest 72-hole score (258), but a balky putter was his undoing in the final round. He carded 32 putts in his final round
 
'It's nice, very nice, but it was a tough day today,' Karlsson admitted. 'There was a little bit more wind and it was not easy.'
 
He had established a tour record for lowest 54-hole score with a three-round total of 189. That total also bettered the tournament's 54-hole record by eight strokes.
 
Paul Broadhurst used a 1-under 68, that included a birdie at the last, to end alone in second place at 13-under-par 263. Jose-Filipe Lima's 64 tied for the low round of the day. The five-under score moved him into third place at minus-12.
 
Eight-time Order of Merit winner Colin Montgomerie took fourth place at 11-under-par 265 after a final-round 67. Johan Skold and Phillip Archer were one stroke further back at minus-10 at the Roman Road Course at Celtic Manor Resort.
 
Karlsson ran in a 25-footer for birdie on the third, his fourth in four days on the par-5. However, three-putt bogeys on four and six dropped Karlsson to 17 under.
 
The 36-year-old two-putted for par on the next three holes. Karlsson left himself 30 feet for birdie at the 10th, but instead three-putted for the third time for bogey.
 
Karlsson knocked his second shot over the green on 12 and was unable to get up and down for par. That bogey dropped him to 15-under, three strokes clear of Lima. Karlsson began to rebound with an 8-foot birdie putt on 13.
 
'After 12 holes, I wasn't worried at all. I was just trying to do my own thing,' Karlsson said. 'Obviously, I was struggling with the putter. You get a little bit tentative when you're leading and you don't get the ball to the hole, which leads to three-putting. I loosened up a little when I birdied the 13th.'
 
He rolled in a 7-footer for birdie on 15, then got up and down for birdie from over the 16th green to get back to minus-18 overall and even par for his round.
 
Karlsson came up short of the green at 17 and pitched to 8 feet. He missed that putt and also tripped to a bogey at the last, but held on for his sixth tour win.
 
'I did the same thing last time I won,' said Karlsson of his last win at the 2002 European Masters. 'I was leading by six with a couple holes to go and finished bogey-bogey. So I definitely have things to learn.'
 
With the win, Karlsson moves into the top-10 on the Ryder Cup points list. The last time he was this close, he finished 11th on the points list in 1999 and was passed over for a spot by then captain Mark James.
 
'It's a long time in the future, but it would a fantastic bonus if it happens,' Karlsson said of the possibility of making the Ryder Cup team. 'There are so many good players that have a shot at the team and there is a long way to go yet. It was heart-breaking not to make the '99 team, but I had to grow from there. I did win later on that year which was fantastic.'
 
Broadhurst entered the round at 12 under, but bogeys on three, five and 10 dropped him back to minus-9. He recovered with birdies on 11 and 14. The Englishman birdied 16 and 18, both for the fourth day in a row, to claim second place.
 
Lima carded four birdies and two bogeys on the front nine. Three more birdies on the back nine got him within three at 12 under, but he could only par the final two holes.
 
Bradley Dredge matched Lima's 64 in the final round. That helped Dredge climb into a share of seventh place at 9-under-par 267. He was joined there by Henrik Nystrom, Gary Orr, Marcel Siem, Lee Slattery, Graeme Storm and Simon Dyson. Jyoti Randhawa and Anthony Wall were one shot further back at minus-8.
 
Related Links:
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  • Thomas vs. Rose could be Ryder Cup highlight

    By Rex HoggardNovember 19, 2017, 11:40 pm

    ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – For those still digesting the end of 2017 – the European Tour did, after all, just wrap up its season in Dubai on Sunday – consider that the PGA Tour is already nearly one-fifth of the way into a new edition.

    The Tour has already crowned eight champions as the game banks into the winter break, and there are some interesting trends that have emerged from the fall.

    Dueling Justins: While Justin Thomas picked up where he left off last season, winning the inaugural CJ Cup in October just three weeks after claiming the FedExCup and wrapping up Player of the Year honors; Justin Rose seems poised to challenge for next year’s low Justin honors.

    The Englishman hasn’t finished outside the top 10 since August and won back-to-back starts (WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open) before closing his year with a tie for fourth place in Dubai.

    Note to U.S. Ryder Cup captain Jim Furyk: Justin v. Justin next September in Paris could be fun.

    Youth served. Just in case anyone was thinking the pendulum might be swinging back in the direction of experience over youthful exuberance – 41-year-old Pat Perez did put the veterans on the board this season with his victory at the CIMB Classic – Patrick Cantlay solidified his spot as genuine phenom.

    Following an injury-plagued start to his career, Cantlay got back on track this year, needing just a dozen starts to qualify for the Tour Championship. He went next level earlier this month with his playoff victory at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open.


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    They say these trends come and go in professional golf, but as the average age of winners continues to trend lower and lower it’s safe to say 25 is the new 35 on Tour.

    A feel for it. For all the science that has become such a big part of the game – from TrackMan analysis to ShotLink statistics – it was refreshing to hear that Patton Kizzire’s breakthrough victory at the OHL Classic came down to a hunch.

    With the tournament on the line and Rickie Fowler poised just a stroke back, Kizzire’s tee shot at the 72nd hole came to rest in an awkward spot that forced him to stand close to his approach shot to keep his feet out of the sand. His 8-iron approach shot sailed to 25 feet and he two-putted for par.

    And how far did he have for that pivotal approach?

    “I have no idea,” he laughed.

    Fall facelift. Although the moving parts of the 2018-19 schedule appear to be still in flux, how the changes will impact the fall schedule is coming into focus.

    The Tour’s goal is to end the season on Labor Day, which means the fall portion of the schedule will begin a month earlier than it does now. While many see that as a chance for the circuit to embrace a true offseason, it’s becoming increasingly clear that won’t be the case.

    The more likely scenario is an earlier finish followed by a possible team competition, either the Ryder or Presidents cup, before the Tour kicks off a new season in mid-September, which means events currently played before the Tour Championship will slide to the fall schedule.

    “So if you slide it back, somebody has to jump ahead. The mechanics of it,” said Davis Love III, host of the RSM Classic and a member of the Tour’s policy board. “I’m still going to go complain and beg for my day, but I also understand when they say, this is your date, make it work, then we'll make it work.”

    While 2019 promises to bring plenty of change to the Tour, know that the wraparound season and fall golf are here to stay.

    Product protection. Speaking of the fall schedule and the likely plan to expand the post-Tour Championship landscape, officials should also use the platform to embrace some protections for these events.

    Consider that the RSM Classic featured the third-strongest field last week according to the Official World Golf Ranking, behind the season-ending tournament in Dubai on the European Tour and the Dunlop Phoenix on the Japan Golf Tour.

    The winner in Dubai received 50 World Ranking points, a marquee event that has historically been deeper than that week’s Tour stop, while the Dunlop Phoenix winner, Brooks Koepka, won 32 points. Austin Cook collected 30 points for his victory at Sea Island Resort.

    All told, the Japan event had four players in the field from the top 50 in the world, including world No. 4 Hideki Matsuyama; while the highest-ranked player at the RSM Classic was Matt Kuchar at 15th and there were seven players from the top 50 at Sea Island Resort.

    Under Tour rules, Koepka, as well as any other Tour members who competed either in Japan or Dubai, had to be granted conflicting-event releases by the circuit.

    Although keeping players from participating in tournaments overseas is not an option, it may be time for the circuit to reconsider the conflicting-event policy if the result is a scenario like last week that relegates a Tour event to third on the international dance card.

    After Further Review: Whan deserves major credit

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 19, 2017, 11:18 pm

    Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

    On Mike Whan's really, really good idea ...

    If LPGA commissioner Mike Whan hasn’t earned a gold star yet for creating the Race to the CME Globe four years ago, he deserves one now. The race’s finish at the CME Group Tour Championship has become a spectacular fireworks show. Stacy Lewis said it best on Saturday. She said the pressure the top players feel at CME is the “worst” those players feel all year, and by that she meant the “most intense,” the kind that makes for the best weeks.

    You can argue there’s more pressure on the top women at the CME than there is in a major. The Rolex Player of the Year Award, the Vare Trophy for low scoring, the Rolex world No. 1 ranking and the money-winning title all seem to come down to this final week, when there’s also the CME Globe’s $1 million jackpot up for grabs. You have to think the weight of all that might have had something to do with Lexi Thompson missing that 2-footer at Sunday’s end. She came away with the Vare Trophy and $1 million jackpot as nice consolation prizes. We all came away thrilled by Ariya Jutanugarn’s birdie-birdie finish amid the gut-wrenching drama. - Randall Mell


    On Austin Cook's improbable winner's journey ...

    Despite becoming a Monday qualifying sensation on the PGA Tour in 2015, Austin Cook still had to head to Web.com Tour Q-School that winter. There he collapsed over his final four holes to blow a chance at full status, and one year later the cancellation of the Web.com Tour Championship because of Hurricane Matthew left him $425 short of a PGA Tour card.

    But Cook put to rest all of his recent near-misses with four days of nearly flawless golf at Sea Island. Now he’s headed to Augusta National in April and exempt through 2020, afforded ample time to look back at how tough breaks in the past helped to shape his unique journey to the winner’s circle. - Will Gray

    On what Cook's win says about PGA Tour depth ...

    Players talk regularly about the depth of talent on the PGA Tour, claiming that anyone in a particular field can come away with a trophy on any given week.

    To prove the point, Austin Cook, No. 306 in the Official World Golf Ranking, rolled over the field at the RSM Classic with rounds of 66-62-66-67 for a four-stroke victory. Before Sunday at Sea Island Resort, Cook’s only triumph in a professional event was at a mini-tour winter series tournament. That payday was $5,000.

    His victory at the RSM Classic was worth considerably more and proved, yet again, the depth of the modern game. - Rex Hoggard

    Snedeker feels close to 100 percent after RSM week

    By Rex HoggardNovember 19, 2017, 11:09 pm

    ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Even if the result – a tie for 29th place – wasn't exactly what Brandt Snedeker is accustomed to, given his journey back from injury he’ll consider his final regular-season start of 2017 a success.

    Snedeker had been sidelined with a sternum injury since June and overhauled his swing with the help of his coach John Tillery in an attempt to alleviate future injury. Needless to say, his expectations at the RSM Classic were low.

    After starting the week with back-to-back rounds of 67 to move into contention, Snedeker wasn’t as sharp on the weekend, but he was still pleased with his week.


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    “It was great to see how my swing held up and the golf course toughen up today and the changes we made. Inevitably you kind of revert back to what’s comfortable and natural,” he said. “But now my body feels good. I was shocked. I thought I’d be close to 75 percent this week and felt closer to 100 [percent]. Hopefully it continues to stay that way.”

    Snedeker said he has a busy schedule planned for early next season on the West Coast and also plans to play next month’s QBE Shootout.

    “Every time I’ve come back from injury I’ve been kind of like, well I’m close but not quite there,” said Snedeker, who added that he was pain-free for the entire week. “This is the first time I’ve come back and been like it’s there.”

    Cook hopes RSM win starts a ROY campaign

    By Rex HoggardNovember 19, 2017, 10:43 pm

    ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Austin Cook cruised to his first PGA Tour victory on Sunday at the RSM Classic, a nearly flawless performance that included just two bogeys for the week and a 21-under total.

    Earlier in the week, Cook’s caddie Kip Henley said Cook was playing the most effortless golf he’d ever witnessed. But as is so often the case, it can be tough to tell what is really going on inside a player's mind.

    “A lot of stuff going on, especially up here,” Cook laughed pointing at his head. “A little tenseness. This week my ball-striking was great, and for the most part my putting was great as well. All around my game was just incredible this week.”


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    Following a bogey at the second hole on Sunday that cut his lead to two shots, the rookie responded with a birdie at the seventh hole and added three more over his final four holes to beat J.J. Spaun by four strokes.

    It was a timely victory for a player who has set rather lofty goals for himself.

    “My goal coming into the year was to win Rookie of the Year and I’ve gotten off to a good start. Now my goal is to make a long deep run into the FedExCup playoffs,” he said.

    Cook became the second consecutive rookie winner of the RSM Classic following Mac Hughes’ victory last year.