October 4, 2008

Karlsson Takes Title In Playoff Win

With a birdie putt on the first-playoff hole, Robert Karlsson overcame the 18th hole at The Old Course and defeated Martin Kaymer and Ross Fisher

The $800K first prize moved Karlsson past Padraig Harrington into first place in the The Order of Merit.

The $800K first prize moved Karlsson past Padraig Harrington into first place in the The Order of Merit.

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland (AP) -- Robert Karlsson of Sweden won the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship with a birdie on the first hole of a three-man playoff on Sunday.

Karlsson and Ross Fisher had 7-under 65s and overnight leader Martin Kaymer shot a 68 to tie the others at 10-under 278.

In the playoff, Fisher drove into the Swilcan Burn, the stream that fronts the first hole on The Old Course, and made a bogey. Kaymer then missed a 10-foot birdie putt before Karlsson made a three-footer for the victory.

The Swede earned $800,000 for his second win of the year and passed Padraig Harrington for the lead in the Order of Merit. Karlsson won the Mercedes-Benz Championship in Germany the week before last month's Ryder Cup, and finished second twice and third three times earlier this season.

"I wasn't thinking about the Order, but no question Padraig has had the better year," Karlsson said. "He has won two majors."

Harrington, who won the Dunhill Links in 2002 and '06, won the British Open and the PGA Championship this year.

Kaymer missed birdie chances from four feet at No. 17 and eight feet No. 18 that would have given him his third victory this year.

"It's disappointing after missing those chances, but it has been a really good week for me," the 23-year-old German said.

Jarmo Sandelin, who was tied with Kaymer overnight, shot a 70 and finished fourth at 280. Harrington, who started out the day tied for fourth, dropped into a tie for 13th with a 71 after two bogeys on the first four holes and another at the 17th. He also made four birdies.

"I started with some really bad shots and struggled. Then after a few birdies it all fell apart," said Harrington, who complained of fatigue this week. "I just wasn't prepared. It's hard to get away with it on a Sunday when you are not prepared right."

The are four events remaining on the European schedule. Karlsson will play the Portugal Masters in two weeks and the Volvo Masters in Valderrama, Spain, two weeks after that, while Harrington just plans to play in Valderrama.

Karlsson, who made par-saving putts of 10 and 12 feet on the 16th and 17th holes, said winning the Order of Merit was not one of his ambitions.

"I've already exceeded my expectations for the season. I've made the Ryder Cup team, won twice, had five other top-threes," he said. "What more can I expect?"