Karlsson flies in and takes control
WENTWORTH history was made yesterday and European Tour history could be made there today – by a player who on Friday night was in Monaco.
Robert Karlsson was so convinced he had missed the halfway cut at the BMW PGA Championship that he took a mid-afternoon flight from London to Nice.
After getting back and firing a miraculous course-record 62, the 40-year-old Swede could now become the first man to win an event on the circuit having made the cut with nothing to spare.
Karlsson was just "a par five" from his front door when word reached him that things had changed and that the cut looked like being three-over par, the figure he was on after finishing his second round with a double-bogey seven.
Not even saying "Hi," to his wife down the road, he asked the taxi driver to take him back to the airport, caught a flight to Paris – there was nothing direct to London – and after two hours' sleep, paid around 7,600 for a private jet leaving at 6am.
Teeing off at 8.55am, the 2008 European No.1 birdied five of the first seven holes to turn in 30 and, by picking up further shots at the 12th, 14th and 16th, even had a chance of the Tour's first 59. This, of course, on a West Course which has been significantly toughened up and has been the subject of huge controversy this week.
On the 601-yard 17th, however, he almost hooked out of bounds and had to make a ten-footer for his par 5 and a t the 539-yard last, the most talked-about hole of them all, he laid up before pitching to 12 feet and making that for birdie.
After his championship as well as course record score Karlsson, who at the time had leapt from 63rd into a tie for the lead with Luke Donald, commented: "I said to my caddie out there that we've got an invitation to this party, so let's party.
"Soren Hansen said at breakfast 'This trip has 63 written all over it' and I said 'Could be 83, but we'll see'.
"It feels like you definitely get a second chance. You just go out to enjoy it, but don't touch my putter – you could burn your hands."
Asked where he ranked the round, Karlsson just smiled and replied: "Probably the most unexpected!"
His chances of the 637,000 first prize were boosted further when Donald bogeyed the first two holes, but the English star then chipped in for an eagle at the fourth to return to 6 under par.
By then, though, Bristol 22-year-old Chris Wood, fifth and third in the last two Opens and chasing his first Tour win, had gone one ahead of them with a hat-trick of birdies from the second.
Wood, like first-round leader Willett making his debut in the championship, reeled off five pars in a row to turn in 32 and remain one in front.
Karlsson was alone in second place again when Donald endured his third bogey of the day on the sixth and slipped alongside Paul Casey and Willett on 5 under.
Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie bogeyed both the closing par 5s for a 75 that left him dejected him with his form. He said: "My game's just very bad. Really very bad. Pathetic."
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Wednesday 19 June 2013
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