Karlsson shoots lights out after his incredible journey

Swede who thought he had missed cut dashes back from Monaco to fire 62

No amount of money can be a defence against brilliant golf. Robert Karlsson yesterday became the first player to go around the West Course – whether the Harry Colt original or the revamped Ernie Els version – in the mind-bogglingly indecent score of 62 strokes. The circumstances could not have been more unexp-ected. Not only has Wentworth owner Richard Caring's £6.5 million upgrade left players puzzled by the more severe tweaks, such as the river-runs-through-it 18th hole, but Karlsson had to make an overnight dash back from Monte Carlo where he had gone home thinking he had missed the cut.

It will only be tonight that Caring will know whether he has got satisfaction for his considerable investment. Drama is his foremost concern and the BMW PGA Championship is bubbling up nicely. Karlsson, four better than anyone else in the third round, went from joint 63rd to tied for the lead before the overnight leaders had got to the tee.

By the end of the day, the 40-year-old Swede was just two behind Chris Wood, the 22-year-old from Bristol who specialises in featuring at Britain's top events, having finished fifth, as an amateur, and third as a rookie professional in the last two Opens. Wood returned a 67 to reach eight under par, while another of England's young talents, Danny Willett, shares second with Karlsson after a 70.

Luke Donald, the halfway leader, slipped to fourth, a shot further back, after a number of uncharacteristic errors while defending champion Paul Casey and Padraig Harrington could still make a charge today. Els, however, is out of it after a 76, seemingly weighed down by some of his peers' criticisms of the redesign, even though Caring admitted he had overruled his designer erroneously in key areas. Yesterday Caring said: "A guy shoots 62 so it can't be that difficult."

Karlsson's travel adventures began even before the tournament when he decided to drive from Monaco to Surrey to avoid disruptions caused by the volcanic ash. Then on Friday, the Swede took a double bogey at the last, having gone in the water with his third shot, and at three over par thought he had no chance of making the cut.

Furious, he stomped up the hill to the clubhouse, drove to his hotel, left his clubs and car with his caddie to drive to France later, went to Heathrow and got on a flight to Nice. When he switched on his mobile that evening after getting off the plane he received the first messages that he might make the cut after all.

Still mad, he jumped in a taxi anyway and headed for Monte Carlo. He had got to within 500 metres of his home when it was confirmed he would qualify for the last two rounds and ordered the taxi driver to do an about-turn, much to the consternation of his wife. Back at Nice airport, the only flight Karlsson could get was to Paris Orly. He stayed in a hotel there, getting less than three hours' sleep before arising at 4am to go to another airport, Le Bourget, where a private plane had been hired at a cost of $11,000 (£7,600) to take him back to Heathrow. At a quarter to seven, with two hours till his tee time, Karlsson walked back into the clubhouse, plenty of time for breakfast, a proper stretch and a full warm-up on the practice range.

At breakfast, Soren Hansen told Karlsson: "This trip has a 63 written all over it." Or an 83, Karlsson thought. He need not have worried. He birdied three holes in a row from the second, then the sixth and the seventh to be out in 30. More importantly, he saved par at the eighth and the ninth.

"I didn't want to back off and protect what I had," he said. "If I was going to drop a few shots, at least it feels better if you give yourself a chance." At the 12th he hit a nine-iron to 15 feet and made a three. He hit a six-iron to eight feet at the short, uphill 14th. At each of the last three holes he made putts of around 12 feet, for birdie at the 16th, for par at the 17th and, after laying up and successfully wedging on in comparison to 24 hours earlier, at the last for his ninth birdie.

"It's probably the most unexpected," Karlsson said when asked how the round ranked among his best. "Scoring-wise, it was perfect because I was in trouble a number of times." On the relaid greens, rolling perfectly compared to the bumpy surfaces of yesteryear, he needed only 23 putts.

"It crossed my mind to withdraw," Karlsson admitted. "But it doesn't look good. It's a Ryder Cup year – being on the Tournament Committee, you can't pull out of one of our biggest events. And I know the press in England can be quite lethal about these things, so it was not an option." Last night he was glad it was not.

Arts and Entertainment
Supporting role: at the Supreme Court, Rhodes was accompanied by a famous friend, the actor Benedict Cumberbatch
booksPianist James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to stop the injunction of his memoirs
Arts and Entertainment
Jesuthasan Antonythasan as Dheepan
filmDheepan, film review
Sport
Steven Gerrard scores for Liverpool
sport
News
peopleComedian star of Ed Sullivan Show was mother to Ben Stiller
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Richard Blair is concerned the trenches are falling into disrepair
newsGeorge Orwell's son wants to save war site that inspired book
Life and Style
Audrey Hepburn with Hubert De Givenchy, whose well-cut black tuxedo is a 'timeless look'
fashionIt may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
News
George Osborne became Chancellor in 2010
peopleChancellor accused of reneging on pre-election promise
Arts and Entertainment
The pair in their heyday in 1967
music
News
Lena Headey plays Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones
people
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern