Karlberg lifts maiden Asian Tour title
Richard Karlberg of Sweden rounded off a superb week to lift his maiden Asian Tour title in style at the SAIL Open on Friday.
The Asian Tour rookie, who held the lead from the first round, closed with a superb six-under-par 66 for a winning aggregate of 20-under-par 268 and beat joint overnight leader India’s Shiv Kapur by five shots at the Delhi Golf Club.
Kapur, playing on his home course, failed to end his five-year title drought as he signed off with a 71 in the US$300,000 Asian Tour event, which is celebrating its third edition.
Local hero Jyoti Randhawa finished third on 274 after shooting a fine 68 while compatriot S.S.P. Chowrasia and unheralded Shamim Khan finished fourth and fifth respectively.
Singapore’s Lam Chih Bing moved up 14 positions after a 69 to end in eighth place while Danny Chia of Malaysia was ninth, a further stroke back after a 74.
Playing in only his second Asian Tour event, Karlberg got off to the best of starts with an opening birdie and then saved a hug putt for par from 15 feet on the second hole to keep his momentum.
“When I saved par on the second hole, I knew that was the turning point as my putter was hot,” said the Karlberg, winner of the Swedish domestic tour Order of Merit in 2007.
Three consecutive birdies from the fifth hole saw the steady Swede lead by three at the turn but he was not on cruise mode yet as nerves crept in. “I can say I was more nervous after those three birdies than I was before. If you hit a bad tee shot, you can lose your ball and end up with a very high score. I was not comfortable until I hit the last tee shot,” said the 23-year-old.
Karlberg said he did not expect to win. “You set goals for the year and after I got my Asian Tour card, I was just aiming to get into the top-60 but to win here is just amazing,” he said.
“There are key moments in a round and today it was my bogey on the third. If I had holed more putts I would have given myself a chance but I didn’t. I’m going to be a gracious loser and tip my hat off to Richard as he played great,” said Kapur, who has won once on the Asian Tour in 2005.
“My putter has been hot and cold this week and today it was stone cold! I didn’t have my A game. I was playing well but it was patchy. To be able to contend when you are not on top of your game is something I learned to do,” said the Indian.
Randhawa, who has won four Asian Tour titles at the venerable Delhi Golf Club, closed with five birdies against one bogey and was pleased with his finish. “If someone told me I would finish third in the beginning of the week, I would have taken it. I have been hitting it well the whole week but Richard played great golf,” said the 2002 Asian Tour number one.
Lam, who has been struggling with his swing all week, got off to a bright start when he holed a monster 30 foot birdie putt on the first hole. He turned in 32 and traded two more birdies against three bogeys.
“My chipping and putting saved me and I’m happy with the way I finished especially on this demanding course,” said Lam, who claimed his first top-10 this season.
“I have been working for quite a while with my coach and everything is slowly coming together. I always have one bad round in a tournament and that’s stopping me from doing better so I just need to overcome that,” added the Singaporean.
Leading final round scores (complete leaderboard)
268 - Richard Karlberg (SWE) 65-69-68-66
SAIL OPEN RELATED STORIES