Sweden’s Robert Karlsson fired an excellent final round of 65 to win the Commercialbank Qatar Masters presented by Dolphin Energy by three shots from defending champion Alvaro Quiros of Spain.
The 40-year-old, European Number 1 back in 2008, began the final day two strokes behind overnight leaders Paul Casey and Bradley Dredge. But the Swede completed an error-free closing round of seven-under-par to pick up his 10th European Tour title. It was his first tour success since taking four months out last year after suffering eye problems.
“I am really happy to be back playing well, it is the first time I have played really well for a long time and the way I finished off today was very satisfying,” said Karlsson. “It was a tough time coming back. I had a couple of good finishes at the end of last year with Henrik Stenson at the World Cup and with a second in Japan, but it is fantastic to be back now.”
Karlsson was pushed hard by playing partner Lee Westwood as the Englishman began the back nine with four birdies in five holes. But a bogey five at the driveable 16th took the inaugural Race to Dubai champion out of the running. He finished tied for third with Brett Rumford of Australia.
Westwood was not assisted by being forced to resort to a replacement driver on Sunday after the face of his usual weapon cracked during the third round. The substitute clearly wasn’t up to scratch and almost every time he used it his ball found the left hand rough.
“I had to play virtually all the back nine with a three wood. You can’t play this course out of the rough and when I pulled the driver out it went in the left rough and it is tough to play it with a three wood because it’s such a long course,” he said. “Long, straight driving is one of my strengths and if you take someone’s strengths away from them it is going to very difficult to compete.”
Alvaro Quiros put up a spirited defence of the title he won 12 months ago. The Spaniard posted a final round of five-under-par 67 to finish the week alone in second place.
Paul Casey and Bradley Dredge, playing together in the final group finished with disappointing 74s and ended tied for fifth with Oliver Wilson.
Commercialbank Qatar Masters presented by Dolphin Energy
Doha GC, Doha, Qatar
Jan 28-31, purse €1,800,000, par 72
1 Robert Karlsson (Swe) 68 70 70 65 273 €294,584
2 Alvaro Quiros (Esp) 71 70 68 67 276 €196,387
T3 Brett Rumford (Aus) 69 66 73 69 277 €99,512
T3 Lee Westwood (Eng) 68 69 70 70 277 €99,512
T5 Paul Casey (Eng) 71 69 66 74 280 €63,277
T5 Bradley Dredge (Wal) 67 69 70 74 280 €63,277
T5 Oliver Wilson (Eng) 67 70 72 71 280 €63,277
8 Thomas Bjorn (Den) 73 70 70 68 281 €44,788
T9 Niclas Fasth (Swe) 70 68 73 71 282 €33,264
T9 Ricardo Gonzalez (Arg) 72 72 71 67 282 €33,264
T9 Retief Goosen (RSA) 73 71 66 72 282 €33,264
T9 Peter Lawrie (Ire) 72 68 73 69 282 €33,264
T9 Camilo Villegas (Col) 70 72 70 70 282 €33,264
Note: Player scores in bold signifies Titleist ball usage only