Robert Karlsson was delighted to join the host of golfing greats who have won the coveted trophy after combining with Henrik Stenson to capture the World Cup for Sweden yesterday. The duo had made a relatively low-key start to the tournament and went into the final round four strokes behind leaders Spain and Australia.
However, Stenson and Karlsson saved their best for last and were superb around the Olazabal course at Mission Hills, carding a nine-under-par 63 in the tricky foursomes format. Spain's Miguel Angel Jimenez and Pablo Larrazabal could only manage a two-under 70 to finish at 24-under-par – three strokes behind Sweden. Consequently, Karlsson, the winner of the 2008 European Tour Order of Merit and world No 12 Stenson join a lengthy list of famous pairings such as Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer, Gary Player and Harold Henning, and Tiger Woods and David Duval as World Cup winners.
"It means very much to win for the country," said Karlsson. "This has always been an event in Sweden that's been big. To play for your country is great. If you look on the trophy, there's many impressive pairings on there. I hope we can look back on it in the future and say the same about us playing here."
Stenson, meanwhile, had come close on two previous occasions with Sweden, finishing second and third in 2005 and 2006, respectively. It was also a first victory of the year for the 32-year-old, and the Dubai-based Swede was honoured to have won. "We've had a great time all week," said Stenson. "We played fantastic.
"I haven't had a win so far this year, and I have got one now, so I'm very pleased with that. It's a great honour to play for your country, and obviously even better when you win."
For Spain's Jimenez and Larrazabal it was a disappointing end to a tournament where they had looked well-placed for victory heading into the weekend. Much like Sweden yesterday, Spain were superb in foursomes in the second round as they shot a 63 to move four shots clear of the field.
However, they failed to build on that over the course of the final two rounds and ultimately a bogey and only three birdies in the fourth round cost them a chance of success.
England's Ian Poulter and Ross Fisher finished strongly as a five-under-par 67 meant they claimed sixth. However, their resurgence came too late after disappointing scores in the first two rounds all but ended their chances of victory.
"We could have run close but we had a bad Thursday and Friday," said Poulter. "We should have had a chance to win this golf tournament." Paul McGinley and Graeme McDowell endured their worst round for Ireland, carding a five-over 77 to drop to 16th while Scotland's Colin Montgomerie and Alastair Forsyth signed for a 72 to finish seven-under-par overall, tied for 19th place.Reuse content