Date: November 16, 2007

Karlsson dominating in Hong Kong

Ryder Cup winner Robert Karlsson holds a four-stroke lead over former champion Miguel Angel Jimenez at the midway of the Hong Kong Open after the Swede fired a second consecutive flawless six-under-par 66 around the Fanling course. Scotland&aposs Barry Hume, Northern Irishman Graeme McDowell and another former winner at the Hong Kong Golf Club, Simon Dyson, lead a congested group containing 2003 Masters champion Mike Weir and South Africa&aposs Trevor Immelman at seven-under. Scott Strange remains the best place Australian, after he shot a two-under par round of 68 to leave him at six-under for the tournament and in a tie for 12th. Fellow Australians Marcus Fraser and Gary Simpson both continued their solid form to be at five-under and four-under respectively, but it is Karlsson who everyone is chasing. Karlsson admits he usually avoids the trip to Hong Kong after previously struggling around the quick slopping Fanling greens but his new approach to the tricky short course paid off again with devastating effects. The 38-year-old began where he left off by sinking a 15-foot birdie putt at the short par three second before picking up back-to-back shots at the par four seventh despite finding the tress of the tee and short par three eighth after nailing the tee shot to three feet to reach the turn three-under-par. Karlsson was at it again at the 10th, holing from 10 feet, before finishing his immaculate round with a 20-foot birdie putt at the tricky 17th and 10-footer at the last. “I have understood exactly what I need to do to have a good score around this golf course and then it is up to me to do it. So far I have done well. I used my driver only once today at the sixth,” said Karlsson, who held onto halfway leads on his way to victory at The Celtic Manor Wales Open and The Deutsche Bank Players Championship of Europe last year. “I would give myself nine of 10 for yesterday and probably also a nine today even though it was a bit different today, they were very different nines. I missed birdie putts at both the par fives, three putted the 14th and missed from five feet at number three. But at the same time I was in trouble a couple of times today and saved myself.” “My target is to play tomorrow and right now that is my only target that I am focusing on. With the course in the condition it is in there are a lot of low scores out there, but it is important for me to keep going.” The best round of the day came from Immelman, who bounced back from his one-over-par 71 opening round with a marvellous bogey-free seven-under-par 63, while Weir leapt up the leaderboard with a second round six-under-par 64. “I needed something special. My scores have been awful the past couple of weeks,” said Immelman. “I have been working hard on the range and something started feeling good. A lot of the times when something is feeling good on the range you can&apost take it on to the course, but today I felt comfortable.”