2006: PGA European Tour

Alveslohe, Germany

Robert Karlsson came into the Deutsche Bank Players’ Championship on July 27 needing a win to vault him into the European Ryder Cup points race.

He left Gut Kaden on July 30 not only with a title and a place among the top 10 in Ryder Cup points, but also with several historic accomplishments.

Karlsson’s monumental week started in Round 1, when he had a brief share of the course record with Retief Goosen after opening with 64. By the end of the day, though, the score had been eclipsed by Lee Westwood’s 63.

But it was the only time all week that Karlsson wasn’t completely in control. His final-round 67 sealed his seventh victory on the European Tour, the most ever by a Swede. In addition, his 25-under 263 was the lowest winning score in the history of the Deutsche Bank event, beating Colin Montgomerie’s 24-under 264 in 1989. Karlsson’s 25 under was also the lowest winning score on the European Tour this year.

If that wasn’t enough for the Swede, he also moved to third on the European Order of Merit and jumped to No. 50 in the Official World Golf Rankings.

“I pretty much felt like I was in control of what was happening out there, and it felt fantastic,” Karlsson said. “When I was over my shots I had a pretty good idea of what I was going to do, and I didn’t get caught up in looking too far ahead. That is the key to playing well.”

Captain comeback: With all the Ryder Cup hopefuls looking to impress captain Ian Woosnam at Gut Kaden, it was Woosnam who was perhaps most impressive through three rounds. He was tied for third through 54 holes, four shots behind Karlsson.

A final-round 72 left Woosnam tied for 11th with Niclas Fasth and Christian Nilsson at 16-under 272.

Even Woosnam was impressed with his seven-birdie 65 in Round 1. He credited his success to his play around the greens, affected by a recent change in putting stance.

“I am delighted and I played well, but I’ve got to say that was the best I have putted for 10 years,” he said. “I just changed a few little things and I thought I’d go the complete opposite to the way I usually go and it worked.”

In addition, Woosnam said a weekly injection of TNF, a medication initially developed for rheumatoid arthritis, has helped ease his chronic back pain in recent years.

Short shots: The cut reflected the low scoring at Gut Kaden, coming at

4-under par. . . . Alejandro Canizares picked up a check in his pro debut, finishing 71st. . . . Colin Montgomerie withdrew July 26, telling tournament organizers he did not want to be “in a competitive environment, preferring to spend time practicing elements of his game which need attention.” Montgomerie most likely will be fined for pulling out after the deadline. . . . Coming off his disappointing final round at the British Open, Sergio Garcia was in contention, shooting four consecutive rounds in the 60s and tying for ninth. . . . Tom Whitehouse won an Audi TT thanks to being the first player to card an eagle on the 404-yard ninth hole.

– Staff and wire reports

On the tee

Next up: The KLM Open, Kennemer Golf and Country Club, Aug. 10-13, Zandvoort, Netherlands. 2005 champion: Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano.

The buzz: The KLM changes courses this year, and Kennemer will try to match last year’s high-scoring conditions at Hilversumsche Golf Club.

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