Date: January 14, 2008
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Karlsson takes command

Robert Karlsson warmed up for next week&aposs Ryder Cup by taking a three-stroke lead after the third round of the Mercedes-Benz Championship – despite suffering a one-shot penalty. Karlsson looked to have completed a superb 67 at Gut Larchenhof before being informed by tournament officials of a possible rules breach earlier in the round. Television footage confirmed Karlsson had grounded his putter when his ball moved fractionally on the second green, and that meant a one-shot penalty which turned his 67 into a 68. At 12 under par the 6ft 5in Swede still leads by three from Italy&aposs Francesco Molinari – whose 65 was the best round of the day – and France&aposs Jean-Francois Lucquin, winner of the Omega European Masters in Switzerland on Sunday. New Zealands Michael Campbell is in a tie for third five shots off the pace. Richard Green shot his third consecutive even-par round to be the best placed Australian, while Stuart Appelby shot an encouraging four-under 68 to move up to a tie for 28th place. “On the second hole I was over the ball but hadn&apost addressed the club right behind the ball,” said Karlsson, who has not won since 2006 but qualified for his second cup appearance next week on the back of nine top-10 finishes this season – including eighth in the US Masters, fourth in the US Open and seventh in the Open. “I always address it a little bit on the toe so I&aposm not really ready to go. The ball moved forward and I thought there wouldn&apost be a penalty because I hadn&apost addressed it but it&aposs actually enough that the putter is on the ground.” “It was definitely a one-shot penalty. Two shots would have been painful but it happens, it&aposs just part of the game. I&aposm really happy it wasn&apost two shots or a disqualification.” “My mistake was that I misunderstood what needed to be done. I thought you had to be addressing the ball but it&aposs enough that the putter is on the ground.” Third Round of the Mercedes Benz Championships (Par 72): -12: Robert Karlsson 67 69 68 -9: Jean-Francois Lucquin 66 71 70, Francesco Molinari 71 71 65 -7: Michael Campbell (New Zealand) 71 70 68, Richard Finch 66 73 70, Ross Fisher 68 73 68, Mikko Ilonen 72 70 67, Jose Manuel Lara 73 69 67 -5: Peter Hanson 69 69 73 -4: Martin Kaymer 74 70 68, Marcel Siem 72 68 72 -3: Soren Hansen 73 67 73, Miguel Angel Jimenez 72 73 68, Paul Lawrie 70 72 71, Richard Sterne 70 73 70, Marc Warren 72 69 72, Steve Webster 73 72 68 -2: David Dixon 72 71 71, Johan Edfors 74 67 73, Gregory Havret 73 74 67, James Kingston 69 73 72, Alexander Noren 71 71 72 Also: E: Richard Green (Australia) 72 72 72 +1: Stuart Appleby (Australia) 74 75 68 +11: Scott Strange (Australia) 74 74 79 +14: Mark Brown (New Zealand) 76 78 76