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Wednesday, 02 February 2011
Robert Karlsson  (Getty Images)
Robert Karlsson (Getty Images)
Defending champion Robert Karlsson believes golf fans can look forward to a feast of big hitting at the Commercialbank Qatar Masters presented by Dolphin Energy.

The Swede ran out a three shot winner at Doha 12 months ago, before enjoying further success in the Middle East when he clinched the season-ending Dubai World Championship presented by DP World.

With fellow big hitters Henrik Stenson and Alvaro Quiros amongst the past winners, and with Paul Casey and Martin Kaymer - neither of whom are shy off the tee - winning the first two stages of the desert swing, Karlsson is convinced length will play a big factor.

"I think if you have a look on the previous winners on most of the desert courses it is definitely set up for the longer hitters in general," he said.

"Kaymer wins his second tournament here, and Casey, and pretty much the rest. If you look at Abu Dhabi, it's a lot of long winners winning here. I don't know if it's the special setup of the golf courses or what it is, but the greens usually play pretty firm, so it's good to be closer to the greens.

"I do like it here, and I've done fairly well. So it's good to be here.

"I have always liked this golf course. I've played pretty well here before, as well. But obviously it was special to win here after being out for such a long time in 2009, so it was great."

Karlsson's victory here last year was his first since an eye injury which threatened the former European Number One's career, but the 41 year old is merely focused on a good display rather than being the first player to successfully defend the Qatar Masters.

"I never really think about it that way," he added. "I will have my name on the trophy, so for that matter, this is a new event and new tournament again.

"It doesn't matter if I would have won it last year or not - it feels good to be back at a place where I've won.

"As I said before, this is a new event and I will definitely do my best. And I think it's there's been one multiple winner, Adam Scott. So it's possible but so far no one's done it the year after each other."

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1BJÖRN, ThomasDEN18-14
2QUIROS, AlvaroESP18-10
T3CABRERA-BELLO, RafaESP18-9
T3BRIER, MarkusAUT18-9
5HOWELL, DavidENG18-8
T6HANSEN, SorenDEN18-6
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