Saturday, 22 May 2010
Robert Karlsson  (Getty Images)
Robert Karlsson (Getty Images)

Wentworth Club history was made by Robert Karlsson and European Tour history could be made there on Sunday - by a player who on Friday night was in Monaco.

The Swede 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 could now become the first man to win an event on The European Tour 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 for a private jet leaving at 6am.

Teeing off at 8.55am, the 2008 European Number One 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 European Tour's first 59.

This, of course, on a West Course which has been significantly toughened up.

On the 601 yard 17th he almost hooked out of bounds and had to make a ten footer for his par five and at 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.

"Søren 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 €750,000 first prize were boosted further when Donald bogeyed the first two holes, but the English star then chipped in for eagle at the long fourth to return to six under.

By then, though, Bristol 22 year old Chris Wood, fifth and third in the last two Open Championships and chasing his first European 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 had his third bogey of the day on the sixth - there was only one in his first 36 holes - and slipped alongside Paul Casey and Willett on five under.

Wood was having a sparkling day, although maybe not quite in the league of Karlsson, and when he added further birdies at the 11th and 12th he was five under for the round and at nine under three clear of Karlsson.

He did then bogey the next, however, and as that happened Willett recovered from a double bogey at the tenth with birdies on the next two to rejoin Karlsson.

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Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1KHAN, SimonENG18-6
4GALLACHER, StephenSCO18-4
5WILLETT, DannyENG18-3
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