Luckless Karlsson edged by Frazar

Robert Karlsson lead for most of the week at the St Jude Classic, but shades of last year, he was beaten in the play-off!

Sweden’s Robert Karlsson lead for most of the week at the St Jude Classic, but shades of 2010, he was beaten again in a second successive TPC Southwind Sunday play-off!

And this time the man who did it was 39-year-old American golfing journeyman Harrison Frazar, who was seeking his first PGA Tour victory in his 355th Tour start.

“I never thought this would happen,” Frazar said in a TV interview after matching pars with Karlsson on the first two extra holes of the playoff and then sealing victory with yet another par at the 12th when the luckless Swede chipped 12 feet past the hole from some greenside rough and failed to make his putt.

“The last few years have been long and tough.”

“It’s been tough on me physically and emotionally. I wasn’t sure this would ever happen, but I’m very proud.”

Frazar said he had seriously considered quitting the tour when he missed five successive cuts while fighting his way back from some season-ending hip surgery last August, but that he had decided to “hang in and enjoy himself” when he felt his form beginning to return “a month or two back”:

“It just shows you how sometimes when you let your guard down or you let your expectations soften, you can free yourself up,” Frazar said.

While the American finally tasted victory after four career second-place finishes on tour, Karlsson fell agonizingly short once again at TPC Southwind for while he has won 11 European Tour titles, he is still seeking his first victory in the US and the Ryder Cup vet might be wondering what more it takes to make his big breakthrough.

He also lost here last year in a four-hole playoff, on that occasion to England’s Lee Westwood, who on Sunday looked to be hitting top form ahead of this week’s US Open at Congressional when secured a top 10 finish with a sparkling 66

Frazar and Karlsson both finished the regulation 72 holes tied on a 13-under-par 267 total after Karlsson, the overnight leader, had closed with a two-under-par 68 and Frazar had posted a 67 after making a bogey at the 72nd hole when he found water with his approach.

“It was a great match, and someone had to win and someone had to lose,” said Karlsson. “This time it was me, but I’m very, very proud of the way I played and handled myself.”

Do you think the odds on Karlsson winning the US Open have gone up or down as a result of his play-off loss? Why not visit Sky Bet for all the latest golf odds?

Two-time US Open champion Retief Goosen of South Africa, who closed with a 69, warmed up for this week’s 111th edition of the USGA’s prime tournament at Congressional by leading the four-man chasing pack into joint third place, five shots off the pace on eight-under-par 272.

The three who tied with him included Camilo Villegas of Colombia, whom finished with a sparkling 64, Japan’s Ryuji Imada (66) and American Charles Howell III (66).

In the main battle at the top of the leaderboard, Karlsson, 41, who led after the second and third rounds, held on to his one-stroke lead over final day playing partner Frazar until the American caught him on 14-under with a birdie at the par-three 11th.

Getting up and catching the runaway leaders at this stage was looking increasingly difficult as the two-man race played out to the end with a series of pars and a lone bogey for each of the two antagonists.

The 41-year-old Swede allowed Frazar to edge ahead at the long par-four 17th where he pulled his drive into deep rough and made a bogey only to see Frazar come back to him at the last .when the American’s approach found the fringe of the green left of the flag but spun away down a slope and plopped into the water for the bogey that sent the match into the play-off.

The top 10 Leaderboard

267 Harrison Frazar (USA) 71 65 64 67

267 Robert Karlsson (Swe) 66 65 68 68

272 Camilo Villegas (Col) 69 69 70 64, Tim Herron (US) 73 65 69 65, Ryuji Imada (Jap) 70 68 68 66, Charles Howell III (USA) 72 67 67 66, Retief Goosen (RSA) 68 71 64 69

273 Stephen Ames (Can) 69 68 68 68, Carl Pettersson (Swe) 69 69 67 68, Cameron Tringale (USA) 71 68 66 68, 274 Lee Westwood (Eng) 69 70 69 66, John Merrick (USA) 66 69 67 72