NEW DELHI – Rikard Karlberg left nothing to chance Sunday at the Hero Honda Indian Open.
Clinging to a one-shot lead on the final hole at Delhi Golf Club, Karlberg hit his third shot on the par-5 18th against a sponsor sign near the green. After taking a free drop, the Swede chipped in for an unlikely birdie, screaming in delight before the large greenside gallery.
“I made great up-and-downs all week,” said Karlberg, who won his second Asian Tour title of the season. “The first day, it felt solid and then I struggled a bit. My short game has been unbelievable. I felt comfortable on the greens.”
277 – Rikard Karlberg (SWE) 70-69-68-70
279 – Baek Seuk-hyun (KOR) 68-70-68-73
280 – Manav Jaini (IND) 70-69-71-70, Shiv Kapur (IND) 71-73-69-67
281 – Mukesh Kumar (IND) 70-70-70-71, Marcus Both (AUS) 68-74-69-70, Siddikur (BAN) 72-72-67-70, Ashok Kumar (IND) 69-73-70-69, Arjun Atwal (IND) 73-69-70-69
282 – Unho Park (AUS) 72-68-70-72, Jbe Kruger (RSA) 68-73-69-72, Prayad Marksaeng (THA) 71-73-70-68
283 – Ben Fox (USA) 70-69-72-72, Mark Foster (ENG) 72-69-70-72, Peter Karmis (RSA) 72-70-70-71, Hwang Inn-choon (KOR) 69-76-69-69
284 – Kim Hyung-sung (KOR) 67-74-71-72, Jyoti Randhawa (IND) 72-71-69-72
285 – Anthony Kang (USA) 72-67-72-74, Kiradech Aphibarnrat (THA) 70-70-72-73, Kenichi Kuboya (JPN) 72-72-68-73, Shamim Khan (IND) 69-72-74-70, Guido Van Der Valk (NED) 76-69-70-70
Karlberg closed with a 2-under 70 (11-under 277 total), after birdies on Nos. 17-18, for a two-shot victory against overnight-leader Baek Seuk-hyun of South Korea, who carded a final-round 73.
Baek’s second-place earnings of US$135,625 was enough to secure him a tour card for next season.
Manav Jaini of India, who held the lead briefly on the back nine, dropped three bogeys on the back to shoot 70, and settled for a share of third with countryman Shiv Kapur, who shot the day’s best of 67.
Karlberg earned US$198,125, bringing his rookie campaign total to nearly US$600,000.
Baek appeared out of contention after going 3 over through 12 holes but pulled to within one with an eagle on No. 14. A bogey on No. 16 derailed his hopes, but a birdie on No. 18 gave the Thai the largest check of his career.
“I’m really happy to get my tour card,” Baek said. “I’ll go to Cambodia next week and try to win there. I feel really confident right now.”
Jaini was disappointed to let slip a chance for victory. He charged into the lead with five birdies on the front nine but dropped costly shots on Nos. 10, 16 and 17.
“I didn’t hit it badly through 18 holes,” Jaini said. “Just made a few wrong decisions. On 17, I went for the flag when I should have gone for the heart of the green.
“I didn’t feel the pressure at all. That was why I was attacking. I felt good about my swing and would have played the 17th the same way if I had the chance. I just leaked it a bit.”
Arjun Atwal, India’s first winner on the PGA Tour, finished T-5.