The charge for the Ryder Cup started for Robert Karlsson with this Wales Open victory here yesterday, while Paul Broadhurst's pursuit to the K Club quickened so markedly that a fairytale return to the Europe team after a 15-year absence has become a real likelihood.
Broadhurst can now claim it is by dint of four birdies in the last eight holes here that earnt him outright second and a cheque for £167,000. That, in turn, leapfrogged him up to seventh in the standings and so brings a rerun of his 1991 trip to dreamland into focus.
"Of course it was on my mind when I birdied the last," said Broadhurst, who won both his matches at Kiawah Island. "That was a big seven-foot putt as I really wanted to come runner-up on my own."
In the end, Broadhurst got within three of Karlsson's 16-under total, but that was as close as anyone had been since the halfway stage. A two-over final round of 71 was not in keeping with the rest of his week of brilliance, but Karlsson was just happy to have recorded his first win in four years.
"You know it's hard to keep your focus when you're so far in front for so long," he said. "I wobbled slightly, but thankfully not too viciously."
The £250,000 payday hauls the 36-year-old to ninth on the Ryder list and gives him the chance to redress the horrors of 1999 when he missed out by one on automatic qualification and was then controversially overlooked as a wildcard by Mark James. "I'm not going to get obsessed by it, but yes, it would be nice," said the Swede with a grin.
There was also a smile from Colin Montgomerie, whose fourth-place recovered some of the confidence he lost after missing seven cuts in 10 outings.
"It was disappointing as I couldn't putt but this has given me something to work with before the US Open in a fortnight," he said. "This is it now - it's time to get going and recreate the Indian summer I had last year."
* Carl Pettersson made it a Swedish double last night, achieving the biggest win of his life in Ohio, which earned him a place in the US Open and next month's Open and put him in the reckoning for a Ryder Cup debut. Pettersson beat eight of the world's top 10 to the Memorial title at Muirfield Village.
* Michelle Wie will try to make history today by becoming the first woman to play in a men's major. The 16-year-old Hawaiian tees it up in New Jersey in final qualifying for the US Open. Wie plays against 152 others for 18 places available.Reuse content