Karlsson ties up Dubai defence

Robert Karlsson has made sure he’ll be in position to defend his title at the Dubai World Championship.

Robert Karlsson has ensured that he’ll be qualified to defending his title at the European Tour’s season-ending Dubai World Championship.

The big Swede, the European Tour’s official website reported on Tuesday, made certain of that on Sunday when he finished in a highly creditable fourth place in the lucrative 93rd US PGA Championship.

Karlsson had a slowish start but two quality rounds of 67 over the weekend at the tough and dangerous Atlanta Athletic Club, lifted him from 47th to 25th place in The Race to Dubai, ensuring he will be in the top 60 by the time The European Tour’s elite assemble at Jumeirah Golf Estates for the season’s climax.

Only the top 60 players in The Race to Dubai qualify for the lucrative US$7.5 million event, and at its conclusion, those in the top 15 of the Race share an extra US$7.5 million Bonus Pool.

Korean young gun Noh Seung-yul also boosted his chances of being in Dubai with a tied 45th place finish in Georgia that moved him up from 63rd to 59th in the Race, while Spaniard Sergio Garcia tied for 12th to rise from 23rd to 17th.

Dane Anders Hansen narrowed the gap on leader Luke Donald by coming third in the US PGA Championship and has still not given up on catching the Englishman in the Race To Dubai money standing, despite trailing by more than €2 million.

“I think you saw from my performance in Atlanta that I’m a player who never gives up and the same thing applies to The Race to Dubai” Hansen he said.

“We all know that Luke has a healthy lead at the top, but I’ve managed to reduce it a little bit this week and I will keep trying from now until the end of the season, starting at Gleneagles in a couple of weeks’ time.

“I finished 27th in the first Dubai World Championship on my way to being 19th in The Race to Dubai and then last year I improved on both counts, finishing 11th in the tournament to end the year in seventh spot.

“As I’m already sixth now, hopefully I can push on to give Luke a real run for his money at the end of the season.”

Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer switched places – Westwood rising from fifth to fourth courtesy of finishing tied eighth in Atlanta – in the only other change in the top ten in the Race.

Kaymer missed the cut.