Karlsson holds on to win

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Tournament: The Celtic Manor Wales Open
Venue: The Celtic Manor Resort, Newport, Wales
Winner: Robert Karlsson

Robert Karlsson moved into contention for a Ryder Cup place after surviving a mid-round stumble and winning his sixth European Tour title at the Celtic Manor Wales Open on Sunday.
Six clear overnight and eight ahead after three holes on Sunday, 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 holes and, despite dropping shots at 17 and 18, eventually signed for a closing 71 and 16-under-par total of 260.
Paul Broadhurst also boosted his own chances of a Ryder Cup appearance -in his case, it would be the second one in 15 years – after posting his first birdie on the 18th to claim outright second, three shots back on 13-under.
Portugal’s Jose-Filipe Lima was a further shot back in third place with Colin Montgomerie fourth, another stroke adrift.
It was Karlsson’s first victory since the European Masters in 2002 and the £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.
“It’s more important for me to keep improving and then I have total belief my ability will come out. I have some sort of talent as you could see from the first three rounds.
“There are so many good players outside the team trying to get in and I’ll probably need to win again to make the team.”
Karlsson looked to be cruising to victory when he birdied the third to go eight shots clear, but four bogeys, all the result of three-putting from long range, gave the chasing pack a glimmer of hope.
But birdies on the 13th, 15th and 16th effectively sealed victory and allowed Karlsson the luxury of bogeys on the last two holes.
“I did the same thing the last time I won, I led by six and finished bogey-bogey so I’ve got a lot to learn!” he joked.
“When we made the turn, the wind turned as well and the course is very different with a bit of wind.
“It’s been a great week but it was hard work as well to be that much in front and spend all night thinking about it. It’s easy to get ahead of yourself.”
Broadhurst had also struggled and was three over par after 10 holes, but picked up four birdies coming home to grab second place outright with a closing 68.
“There is a big difference between second and third and I wanted second on my own,” he said.
“It was tough today. The wind was all over the place and I would either be through the green or come up short. At times it felt like damage limitation. I felt as if I was going to shoot 76.”
Montgomerie matched Broadhurst’s back nine of 31 but was left to rue not making the most of a superb start to his second round, when he was five-under for seven holes.
“A frustrating week,” said the 42-year-old Scot. “At 11-under I’ve just got back to where I was after seven holes of my second round.
“It’s crazy really. My putting was poor but I’m driving the ball well and that bodes well for the US Open in two weeks’ time.
“I’ve got a little more confidence than I had before I came here. There’s no point sitting at home thinking about it. I’ve got nothing else to do. I can’t get confidence sitting at home.
“I’m halfway through an 11-week run, I’m tired but I’m doing okay. No-one else does that but you can’t knock it, I’ve been number one a few times. When I’m in a bit of a rut the best way is to play my way out of it.”
ALL THE FINAL ROUND SCORES:
260 Robert Karlsson (Swe) 61 63 65 71
263 Paul Broadhurst 64 64 67 68
264 Jose-Filipe Lima (Por) 69 61 70 64
265 Colin Montgomerie 63 66 69 67
266 Phillip Archer 60 68 71 67, Johan Skold (Swe) 65 66 67 68
267 Bradley Dredge 67 70 66 64, Lee Slattery 64 67 69 67, Graeme Storm 65 67 68 67, Marcel Siem (Ger) 65 66 68 68, Simon Dyson 66 62 69 70, Henrik Nystrom (Swe) 66 67 64 70, Gary Orr 68 63 65 71
268 Jyoti Randhawa (Ind) 67 70 66 65, Anthony Wall 72 63 63 70
269 Stephen Dodd 66 68 68 67, Marc Warren 67 68 67 67, Simon Wakefield 69 66 67 67, Graeme McDowell 68 67 64 70, Matthew Millar (Aus) 69 62 67 71
270 Jeev Milkha Singh (Ind) 68 69 69 64, Paul Lawrie 71 66 68 65, Francois Delamontagne (Fra) 63 67 70 70, Michael Hoey 64 68 68 70
271 Alastair Forsyth 67 68 67 69, Wade Ormsby (Aus) 68 67 65 71, David Park 66 68 64 73
272 Jean-Francois Lucquin (Fra) 71 66 69 66, Brett Rumford (Aus) 71 66 69 66, David Higgins 68 66 71 67, Peter Lawrie 66 68 70 68, Alessandro Tadini (Ita) 68 65 70 69, Andrew Butterfield 66 68 69 69
273 Per-Ulrik Johansson (Swe) 70 65 72 66, Richard Bland 70 66 71 66, Andrew Oldcorn 65 70 71 67, Stephen Gallacher 68 65 72 68, Mark Foster 70 67 68 68, Robert-Jan Derksen (Ned) 66 70 68 69, Richard Sterne (Rsa) 69 67 67 70, Steven O’Hara 69 64 69 71
274 Andrew Marshall 67 70 71 66, Garry Houston 72 65 69 68, Martin Erlandsson (Swe) 68 68 69 69, David Griffiths 69 65 70 70, Francisco Valera (Spa) 69 66 69 70, Thonghcai Jaidee (Tha) 66 67 70 71, Stuart Little 68 66 69 71
275 David Dixon 67 69 72 67, Niclas Fasth (Swe) 68 67 72 68, Carl Suneson (Spa) 66 70 71 68, Peter Hedblom (Swe) 69 67 70 69, Stephen Scahill (Nzl) 64 71 70 70, Alexandre Rocha (Bra) 68 69 68 70, Ian Garbutt 69 65 66 75
277 David Lynn 69 66 73 69, Barry Lane 66 70 72 69, Miles Tunnicliff 69 67 70 71, Peter O’Malley (Aus) 67 69 70 71, Ignacio Garrido (Spa) 66 67 70 74
278 Gary Clark 66 70 72 70, Mark Roe 70 66 71 71, Soren Hansen (Den) 68 69 70 71
280 Phillip Price 69 66 65 70, Jamie Donaldson 67 67 73 73, Maarten Lafeber (Ned) 67 69 70 74, Nicolas Colsaerts (Bel) 71 65 66 78
284 Andrew McLardy (RSA) 67 68 77 72