The victorious Swede made a brisk start to the opening few holes and then dropped a couple of shots before a birdie surge heading for home brought him back into contention.
However, Karlsson didn’t pay much attention to the leaderboard as he made his way back towards the clubhouse – a factor that enabled him to force a decisive play-off with Ian Poulter and ultimately prevail.
“It’s a strange day to say the least,” the 41-year-old, known as ‘The Scientist’, said.
“You start with a card that reads birdie, birdie, birdie, eagle and the eagle was on a par four. It’s not what you expect to happen when you are three behind, but it’s not always that easy.
“I made a couple of mistakes; I three-putted three holes in the space of four or five holes.
“After that, it was important to come back and start playing my own golf again and I made a few birdies around the turn, which was great.”
He added: “I didn’t have a clue at any stage. I saw out of the corner of my eye a couple of times what the leaderboard was looking like. I saw it was 13 or 14 under. I didn’t know who, but you hear it from the crowds.
“And the putt on the 18th the first time around, I was just trying to hole it. I didn’t know if I needed to hole it to get in the play-off or anything. It was probably better that way for me.”
Sunday’s success represented Karlsson’s second triumph in this part of the world during 2010 following his Commercialbank Qatar Masters win in January.
Nonetheless, such a record is no coincidence seeing as the courses are seemingly more suited to his style of play.
“In general, the desert golf courses are set up pretty well for long hitters,” Karlsson explained. “They are very often quite generous off the tee and you can see that with the winners in Abu Dhabi – with (Paul) Casey, (Martin) Kaymer and me – and Alvaro (Quiros), Retief (Goosen) and Ernie (Els) in Qatar. “Lee (Westwood) won here last year and I won this year. You very often see a lot of long hitters doing well here.”
Meanwhile, Karlsson has predicted that a big future lies ahead for the new Race to Dubai champion Martin Kaymer.
“He’s a fantastic player and a player I expect will go on and keep doing great things in the future,” the 2008 European Order of Merit victor enthused.
“The way he played during that play-off in the US PGA is a sign of a champion.”