Warren wins Barseback play-off

European Tour

Tournament: Scandinavian Masters
Venue: Barseback G & CC, Malmo, Sweden
Winner Marc Warren

Scotland’s Marc Warren claimed his first European Tour title today (Sunday) after the EnterCard Scandinavian Masters at Bareseback ended in a thrilling climax.
Warren birdied three of the last six holes to card a closing 69 and force a play-off with home favourite Robert Karlsson.
The 25-year-old from Cambuslang then parred the second hole of the sudden death play-off to secure victory and the £182,000 first prize after Karlsson made two visits to the trees to run up a double-bogey six.
The pair had finished tied on 10-under par after Karlsson let slip a one-shot lead with two holes to play.
South African Richard Sterne took third place on nine under with Germany’s Marcel Siem another shot back in fourth.
Warren holed the winning putt in the Walker Cup at Sea Island in 2001, but until he topped the European Challenge Tour in 2005 and graduated to the European Tour this year, he had struggled to make it in the professional ranks and started the week a lowly 129th on the European Tour’s Order of Merit.
With this win he has secured his card for next year and an exemption until the end of 2008.
“It’s a fantastic feeling,” he admitted. “I’m a bit lost for words at the moment but I am sure it will sink in later tonight.
“The time before the play-off did me the world of good because I wasn’t feeling comfortable with my swing but I was able to work a couple of things out on the range.”
Karlsson, seeking back-to-back victories after his victory in Germany last week and teeing off with his confidence boosted by his record 63 in the third-round on Saturday, was four shots clear after seven holes.
This after recovering from a bogey at the first with three birdies in his next four holes.
But a bogey at the 11th gave the chasing pack some hope, yet the big Swede, said to be the tallest man on the tour, was far from deflated, even after hearing that Warren’s superb finish had matched his his 10 under par.
Karlsson quickly got back in to the fray by birdying the 16th after finding a path through the trees following a wayward drive.
He was not so lucky after a similar drive on the 17th however, and in the end did well to scramble a bogey five to drop back alongside Warren.
And that cost him dearly in the end.
Warren, whose two play-off victories last year helped him top the Challenge Tour rankings, already has firm plans about what to do with his winner’s cheque.
“I think a flat of my own could be on the agenda now,” he revealed.
“I still live at home with my mum and dad. Every Sunday I fly home and give my mum a load of dirty washing so I’m sure she’ll be glad to see the back of me!”
Victory also gives Warren an exemption until the end of the 2008 season and lifts him from 129th in the Order of Merit to 53rd.
“It’s a great feeling to have that exemption behind me because I was running out of tournaments to keep my card,” admitted Warren, who now2 joins former Walker Cup team-mates Luke Donald, Nick Dougherty and Graeme McDowell in the winner’s circle.
McDowell also made the Scandinavian Masters his first tour victory in 2002.
“It’s been a tough year, but this more than makes up for everything that’s gone before.
“I’d missed the last four cuts in a row but had been working hard with Bob Torrance and he kept telling me there was nothing wrong with my swing; it was just a matter of me taking it out on the course.”
Warren looked to have dropped out of contention after three-putting the sixth and seventh but almost holed his tee-shot on the par-three eighth to get back on track and also birdied the 13th, 16th and 18th to set the clubhouse target.
Karlsson had been as much as four shots clear after seven holes after recovering from a bogey at the first with three birdies in his next four holes.
But a bogey at the 11th gave the chasing pack some hope and yet,even after Warren’s superb finish brought him level with Karlsson at 10-under, the 6ft 5in Swede birdied the 16th to edge ahead after finding a path through the trees following a wayward drive.
He was not so lucky after a similar drive on the 17th however, and in the end did well to scramble a bogey five to drop back alongside Warren.
It was Warren’s turn to scramble a bogey on the first play-off hole – the 18th – as Karlsson failed to get up and down from a greenside bunker to secure the first Swedish victory in the event since Jesper Parnevik in 1998.
When the players returned to the 18th again it was Karlsson’s turn to hit a poor tee shot and when his attempted recovery hit a tree and rebounded into further trouble Warren was left to seal an unexpected triumph.
“I tried to keep saying to myself it was no different to the Challenge Tour, even though I was up against a player the calibre of Robert,” added Warren. “I know pressure can make people make mistakes and I had my fingers crossed I would get another chance.
“I really enjoy being in pressure situations, I don’t really have any fear about what can go wrong. I just try to picture myself holding the trophy.
“I have a belief that when I’m under pressure I can conjure something up when it matters.”
Karlsson insisted he had “no regrets” despite missing out on becoming only the fourth player to win back-to-back tournaments on the European Tour in the last 10 years.
“If you had asked me on Tuesday if I would take second place I would have said yes. Any time you finish second in a tournament the week after winning you can’t complain,” said Karlsson, who at least had the consolation of securing his place in the Ryder Cup team, barring a miraculous set of circumstances.
“It’s been a strange week, three days ago I was halfway to Stockholm when I was four over par after four holes of the second round so I’m really happy to finish second.”

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