Karlsson surges ahead in Dubai

Sweden’s Robert Karlsson led the 60-strong field at the end of day one in the Dubai World Championship after a contrasting 18 holes of golf.

By Alex Leach

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Published: Fri 26 Nov 2010, 9:48 AM

Last updated: Mon 11 Oct 2021, 9:20 AM

Karlsson, ranked 21st for this season-ending European Tour event, carded a seven-under 65 with an eagle and eight birdies to edge in front of Thailand’s Seung-Yul Noh and Martin Kaymer, of Germany.

His first round did however also include three bogeys, which is perhaps indicative of an experienced golfer not too familiar with the comparatively new surroundings at the Jumeirah Golf Estates.

“It’s the first time around here and I played a couple of practice rounds,” Karlsson said. “I was here in January and I had a practice round and there was obviously the Pro-Am. I didn’t know that much about the course, except there’s been a lot of low scores last year.

“It’s one of those courses, when you’re playing well, it’s easy to get close to the pins. But, if you’re off the sort of bowls of the pins, it’s very difficult to set yourself.

“That’s why my score was a bit like that. I made a lot of good stuff and, when I missed it, it was difficult to save myself.”

Karlsson is of course no stranger to winning in the Middle East this year having claimed the Commercialbank Qatar Masters in January.

That success marked his recovery from a left-eye injury that blighted most of the 2009 season for the man known as ‘The Scientist’ and he made reference to such misfortune when asked to assess his current form.

“I’m playing pretty well,” Karlsson explained.

“I have most of the shots in the bag. I feel pretty comfortable with where I am in the game and there’s no blindness at the moment or any other diseases, so things are good!

“I had glandular fever this spring. I couldn’t really play to any sort of standard for about two months. Since then, I’ve been good but it takes time to get back. It’s taken a longer time than I was hoping, but it’s starting to feel good now.”

That prior bout of ill health meant Karlsson wasn’t involved when Europe regained the Ryder Cup from the USA at Celtic Manor in October.

Nonetheless, the 2006 debutant is keen to be involved again in the prestigious tournament, adding: “When you’ve been in one Ryder Cup, you want to come back to it.

That’s just the way it is. It’s a fantastic event and something you want to be a part of.

“If you’re not in it, you try next time. Obviously, it was fantastic for Europe to win it and a lot of players kept playing very well, like Francesco (Molinari) and obviously Graeme (McDowell) and (Ian) Poulter.

“So, it’s good. Everything is good for European golf, and for us, we have been in it, so we are going to have to try to get back to it again.”

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