With nine holes to play, Martin Kaymer let a three-shot lead slip at the 2015 Italian Open

For every victory celebration in sport there is also the vanquished, the ones left to rue the turn of events. While Sweden’s Rikard Karlberg celebrated his maiden win on the European Tour yesterday at the Italian Open, and faces the exciting prospect of revising his playing schedule as new doors open, runner-up Martin Kaymer was left bitterly disappointed.

This defeat was hard to take for the former world number one, who is seeking his first win of 2015 and who led by three with nine holes to play at GC Milano on Sunday afternoon.

“It was a disappointing finish to be honest,” said Kaymer, after he had lost to Karlberg at the second play-off hole. “We made too many mistakes on the back nine. There were two or three tactical and clubbing mistakes. That happens sometimes but it shouldn’t have happened in that situation today because you need all the help you can get. We should have been more focused.

“I played well all week but not on the back nine today and that has cost me the tournament.”

It won’t feel like any consolation at all, but Kaymer’s world ranking has risen from 22 to 20 after the Italian Open, and his position in the European Tour’s Race to Dubai has shifted from 17th to 11th. Karlberg’s world ranking jumped from 247 to 133, and he has risen to 47th in the Race to Dubai.

“You have to say well done to Rikard,” added Kaymer. “He made a great birdie to win after I had my chance in the first play-off hole. I had a good yardage to the flag but I didn’t really release the club and give myself a good chance for birdie. But I don’t want to take anything away from his win – he played a great final round then made a birdie to win the play-off so he deserved it.”

Martin Kaymer is a Mercedes-Benz brand ambassador and Mercedes-Benz is Official Partner of the Italian Open 2015