Date: October 06, 2008

Karlsson takes out Dunhill

Robert Karlsson birdied the first play-off hole at St Andrews to win the Dunhill Links Championship from Martin Kaymer and Ross Fisher after the trio had finished tied on 10-under-par. Karlsson has now won his second successive European Tour event to blow the battle for the Order of Merit wide open. The 432,000-pound ($AU 990,834) first prize takes the Swede ahead of double major winner Padraig Harrington in the Order of Merit with just four events of the season remaining. Marcus Fraser was the pick of the Australians, finishing equal 24th on three-under-par while Peter Fowler finished a shot further back in a share of 31st spot on minus two. Karlsson, who won the Mercedes-Benz Championship in Germany the week before the Ryder Cup, plans to play one more event before the season-ending Volvo Masters but Harrington will only compete at Valderrama. But even if he goes on to win the Harry Vardon Trophy for the first time, Karlsson concedes Harrington&aposs victories this year in the Open Championship and USPGA Championship mean he will be the true European number one. “I still rate Padraig&aposs year higher than mine,” admitted Karlsson. “If you&aposve won two majors there&aposs no doubt who is the best player this year.” Until his victory in Cologne, Karlsson had gone two years without a victory but qualified for his second Ryder Cup 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 felt at ease today after getting that win under my belt and felt very comfortable going out there in the play-off,” said the 39-year-old. “I&aposve birdied that hole three times in a row now and I just fancied my chances when I got that yardage.” “It&aposs a relaxing event and you just want to go out there and have fun and enjoy it, although I wouldn&apost have said that yesterday. I was a bad boy a couple of times during my 76 at Carnoustie,” he quipped. On a day of low scoring in benign conditions on the Old Course, Karlsson and Fisher set the clubhouse target after matching rounds of 65. Kaymer held a one-shot lead on the 17th tee but bogeyed the famous Road Hole after coming up short of the green, and then missed a birdie putt for the title from eight feet on the 18th. The 23-year-old German then also missed from 12 feet for birdie on the first extra hole – after Fisher&aposs hopes disappeared when he drove into the Swilcan Burn – but Karlsson made no mistake after a superb approach to three feet. “It&aposs disappointing, especially after having chances on the last two holes to win, but overall it was a really good week for me,” said Kaymer, who has won twice this season, including on home soil just two weeks after his mother died of cancer. “It has been a very special week to play with my brother and father in the team event.” Harrington began the day just two off the lead but could only manage a closing 71 and again pointed to fatigue as the reason behind his sub-par recent performances. The 37-year-old, who won just half a point for the second Ryder Cup in succession at Valhalla, said: “It&aposs hard to get away with it on a Sunday (UK time) when you are not prepared right. I know myself I&aposm not on top of my game.” “I&aposll have a battle on my hands for the Order of Merit for sure. It&aposs in Robert&aposs hands now.” Fourth Round of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, St Andrews -10: Robert Karlsson 67 70 76 65 (won by playoff), Ross Fisher 64 76 73 65, Martin Kaymer 65 72 73 68 -8: Jarmo Sandelin 66 72 72 70 -7: Magnus Carlsson 70 68 73 70, Jose-Felipe Lima 67 71 75 68, Anthony Wall 66 76 71 68 -6: Paul Casey 72 70 72 68, Robert-Jan Derksen 72 73 72 66, Jamie Donaldson 70 70 75 67, Soren Hansen 64 73 77 68, Rory McIlroy 68 69 78 67, Lee Westwood 68 70 76 68 Also: -3: Marcus Fraser (Australia) 66 77 71 71 -2: Peter Fowler (Australia) 68 76 77 65 +2: Matthew Millar (Australia) 72 77 71 70 +5: Greg Chalmers (Australia) 70 75 76 72