Karlsson proves the star of Qatar

PETER LAWRIE secured his first top 10 finish of the new season, as he finished ninth behind Sweden’s Robert Karlsson who captured his first victory in 14 months with success in the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters.

Karlsson bounced back from having to sit out four months last year due to an eye injury in carding a closing round 65 to win by three strokes with a 15-under par tally.

However, the 40-year-old had to come to the rescue of Ryder Cup colleague Oliver Wilson after the driver of Wilson’s courtesy car slammed into a van on the way to the Doha course.

Wilson was shaken and complained of soreness but felt fit enough to take his place on the final day and birdie his closing three holes in a 71 to share fifth place on eight under.

“The courtesy car driver must have been a bit excited getting his hands on a 745 BMW,” said Wilson.

“I was looking at my phone and next minute all I could see was a white transit van halfway up the bonnet, I was just lucky I had my seatbelt on.”

Karlsson, winner of the 2008 Order of Merit, went into the last day head-to-head with reigning European number one Lee Westwood.

However, Westwood struggled with a replacement driver to card a 70 and finish tied third with Australia’s Brett Rumford (69), the pair one shot behind Spain’s Alvaro Quiros (67) who was second on 12 under in the defence of his title.

Lawrie carded a 69 to share ninth at six under par but disappointed a group of Irish followers watching from a corporate enclosure and himself when he left his 10-foot birdie putt at the last right at the jaws of the cup.

Lawrie earned a €33,264 prize cheque to jump 41 spots on the money list and into 42nd place.

Portrush’s Graeme McDowell (71) shared 14th place on five under par while Shane Lowry, who now heads to the Dubai Desert Classic for a first time, carded a second straight 72 for a share of 24th at three under par.

“I was three under over the last four holes so to shoot level par I came back strongly again which was quite pleasing,” said Lowry who dropped a place to 15th on the money list.

* Ireland’s Daniele McVeigh (Royal Co. Down) tied for sixth in an elite field at the 80th Portuguese International Ladies Amateur Open on the O’Connor Jnr Course at Oceanico’s Amendoeira Resort in the Algarve.

McVeigh fired an impressive closing 70 to leave her 10 strokes behind Spain’s Anna Arrese. Cork’s Gillian O’Leary rounded off a great week’s work with a closing 74 to finish joint 24th. Earlier Maria Dunne (Skerries), Aedin Murphy (Carlow), Victoria Bradshaw (Bangor), Sarah Cunningham (Ennis), Ciara Butler (Newlands) and Louise Mernagh (Woodenbridge) missed the 14-over-par cut.


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