2006: Karlsson closer to Cup

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Newport, Wales

Robert Karlsson has been waiting seven years for another shot to make the European Ryder Cup team. This could be his year.

In 1999, Karlsson finished 11th in the Cup standings, but was passed over by captain Mark James as a possible wild card pick. The European team headed for Brookline, Mass., and eventually fell to the U.S. 141⁄2 to 131⁄2.

Karlsson said he felt a lot of emotions about not being selected in 1999, but disdain for James wasn’t one of them.

“It was a shock and I questioned why it happened, but he was the captain and made his decision. It was a tough experience but a learning curve for me,” Karlsson said.

Perhaps this year, European captain Ian Woosnam won’t be so quick to overlook the Swede, especially with the way he’s playing.

Karlsson’s victory June 4 at the Celtic Manor Wales Open not only moved him to 12th on the European money list, it also moved him into ninth on the European Ryder Cups points list (fourth not counting duplicates on the World Points list). He’s No. 17 in the World Points list. The only thing the triumph didn’t do was make history – a feat Karlsson missed by only a few strokes.

Karlsson’s total of 16-under 260 missed the European Tour’s all-time low score of 258 by only two shots.

After 36 holes, Karlsson already had set a halfway record with a 124 total. After 54, he had set yet another record with a 189 total, becoming the first player to break 190 after three rounds. In addition to making history, Karlsson’s score also gave him a six-shot lead heading into Sunday.

Despite bogeys on the final two holes, Karlsson would still have enough for a three-shot victory over England’s Paul Broadhurst.

It was the sixth European Tour victory for Karlsson and first since the 2002 Omega European Masters.

Another Ryder bid: Don’t mention the Ryder Cup to Paul Broadhurst. He may have one foot in the door to making the team right now – he is seventh on the European points list (third not counting duplicates off the World Points list) – but he isn’t thinking about making the trip to Dublin this September.

Not yet.

“Last week I couldn’t hit my hat so I’m taking each day as it comes,” said Broadhurst, who played in the 1991 match at Kiawah Island.

“You never know with my game, it is so inconsistent.”

Wales marked Broadhurst’s fourth top-10 finish this year. He won the Algarve Open de Portugal earlier this year and was second at Qatar.

Tip pays off: Portugal’s Jose-Filipe Lima secured the largest check of his career after a final-round 64. His 12-under 264 gave him solo third. Lima credited his seven birdies in the final round to the event’s defending champion, Miguel Angel Jimenez.

“Miguel told me to feel the putts more and try to imagine the path to the hole,” Lima said. “He said I am young and too quick and that I have to slow down and take my time.”

So close: England’s Philip Archer missed a 7-foot putt on the 18th green in Round 1, and the chance to make PGA European Tour history.

Archer took the first-round lead with a 9-under-par 60. However, the 7-footer was for the first 59 on the European Tour.

“I couldn’t have done any more, to tell you the truth,” Archer said. “It could have been. I read the putt correctly but I just hit it too hard, that’s all.”

Short shots: The tournament was held on Celtic Manor’s Roman Road Course for the second consecutive year as renovations for the 2010 Ryder Cup continue on the Wentwood Hills Course.

– Alistair Tait and wire reports

On the tee

Next up: Aa St. Omer Open, June 15-18, Aa St. Omer Golf Course, Lumbres, France. Defending champion: Joakim Backstrom.

The buzz: While most of the top players are at the U.S. Open, the rest gather for the European Tour-Challenge sponsored event.

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