2002: Karlsson inspired at European Masters

Crans-sur-sierre, Switzerland

Robert Karlsson, a 6-foot-5 Swede who lists self-development as one of his personal interests, stood tall in the Swiss Alps.

Karlsson went wire-to-wire in the European Masters, winning Sept. 8 on the newly named Seve Ballesteros Course at Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club. After finishing at 14-under 270 to win by four, Karlsson dedicated the victory to sports psychologist Bengt Stern, who died Sept. 6.

Karlsson credited Stern with helping him overcome negative thoughts on the course, and talked of his appreciation after winning for the fifth time on the PGA European Tour.

“He has been a very important person in my career,” Karlsson said. “One of the most important things he got me to understand was that if I feel I am playing badly, it is only actually a thought, it doesn’t have to be the truth.

“If you are playing badly on the golf course, it is only a feeling, and it is important to realize I am not my feelings. I am Robert.”

Karlsson earned 250,000 euros (approx-imately $245,450) in a comfortable victory over Scotland’s Paul Lawrie and South Africa’s Trevor Immelman, who tied for second. It was the third runner-up finish this season for the 22-year-old Immelman. Lawrie, following in the path of Karlsson’s “I am Robert” quote, offered a simple – yet not too insightful – explanation for his finish.

“Second is all right,” Lawrie said. “It’s not first, but it’s better than third.”

Perhaps Lawrie and Immelman were doomed after Karlsson took the first-round lead. It was the third consecutive year that the European Masters winner went wire-to-wire: Argentinian Eduardo Romero did it in 2000 and countryman Ricardo Gonzalez did it last year.

– Staff and wire reports

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