Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Karlsson Stumbles Nearer Ryder Spot

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Karlsson Stumbles Nearer Ryder Spot

Article excerpt

Byline: By Phil Casey

Swede survives blip to take a step towards Dublin showdown

Robert Karlsson moved into contention for a Ryder Cup place after surviving a mid-round stumble to claim his sixth European Tour title at the Celtic Manor Wales Open.

Six clear overnight and eight ahead after three holes yesterday, Karlsson saw his lead slashed to three shots after a run of four bogeys in nine holes.

But the 6ft 5in Swede regained his composure to birdie three of the next four and, despite dropping shots at 17 and 18, eventually signed for a closing 71 and 16-under-par total of 260.

Hartlepool's Graeme Storm finished in a seven-way tie for seventh place with his fourth sub 70 round, 67, for a 267 total ( seven shots behind Karlsson.

Paul Broadhurst boosted his own chances of a second Ryder Cup appearance 15 years after his first with a birdie on the 18th to claim outright second on 13-under, with Portugal's Jose-Filipe Lima in third and Colin Montgomerie in fourth another stroke adrift.

It was Karlsson's first victory since the European Masters in 2002 and the pounds 250,000 first prize lifted him into ninth in the cup standings.

The 36-year-old came agonisingly close to making the team in 1999, finishing 11th in the standings and ninth in the final counting event in Munich before being overlooked for a wild card by captain Mark James.

"It was heartbreaking when it happened," admitted Karlsson. "The desire to make the team drove me for a while but that's why I was thinking about giving up the game. If I start to focus too much on the outside I get frustrated.

"I'm in a privileged position to play golf for a living but I was not enjoying life on tour. I questioned whether I should keep doing it or pack it in.

"So in 2003 I started seeing a life coach, a Swedish woman named Ann Christene Lundstrom, and I'm a lot happier now in my relationships with everyone, from my family to my caddie.

"The Ryder Cup would be a fantastic bonus but something which is a bi-product of playing well. If I start focusing on things in the future you saw what happened today. …

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