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Robert Karlsson on brink of winning Order of Merit

Robert Karlsson goes into this week’s order of merit showdown at the Volvo Masters looking down at his rivals in philosophical mood over his chances of being crowned European number one on Sunday.

The Swede has a 297,425 euro ($372,100) advantage over his nearest rival Padraig Harrington, the Irish 2008 double major champion, and is 466,606 euros ahead of Briton Lee Westwood who is third on the money list.

While Harrington has won two majors, Karlsson has had the more consistent season and is on the brink of being the first Swede to claim the Harry Vardon trophy.

Consistency does not always reap its rewards, though, Karlsson said on Tuesday.

“Golf is not about justice,” Karlsson told Reuters. “I can’t go into this week thinking that. It only takes a big shift on the leaderboard to change everything.

“It will be hard to focus because I’m reminded about the order of merit all the time.

“What I have to remember, though, is that I am only able to control what I’m doing—I can’t control what others are doing.”

He said the tough Valderrama course will be a big factor in who secures the European number one crown on Sunday.

“Here it is a precision game. Whoever is more accurate is going to win or get a good result,” Karlsson added.

With the Volvo Masters, which starts on Thursday, making its final appearance on the European calendar, the stage is set for a thrilling end to the season.

Harrington, who feels he needs to win the 708,330 euros first prize to be sure of a second Vardon trophy, is ready to pull out all the stops.

“I know what I need to do this week, I’ve got to go out there and try and win the tournament and get two bonuses,” he told a news conference. “If I win the tournament, I win the order of merit, so that’s what’s in my mind for the week.

“I’m treating it very much like I would treat any major.”

The 2008 British Open and U.S. PGA champion said he would be able to raise his game if his money-list chance starts fading.

“There’s a point in the tournament where you have to stop being patient and have a go at it. Hopefully, that won’t be in the first round but I’ve seen where things have gone like that.”


October 29, 2008

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