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Sunday, 24 October, 1999, 18:45 GMT
Karlsson proves a point
Mark James might regret overlooking Karlsson for his Ryder Cup side

Sweden's Robert Karlsson, overlooked for Europe's Ryder Cup wild card slot, claimed the 89,000 first prize at the Belgacom Open in Belgium with a superb final round of 66.

Karlsson, who finished ahead of Andrew Coltart in the event's qualifying table but was left behind in preference to the Scot, finished on 12 under par, one shot ahead of England's Jamie Spence and South Africa's Retief Goosen.

Karlsson began the final round three shots off the lead but after playing the first seven holes in level par, rattled in four birdies in five holes around the turn to move to the top of the leaderboard.

He gained his crucial one-shot cushion with a final birdie on the par five 17th.

Sweden's Per-Ulrik Johansson and New Zealander Greg Turner finished in a tie for fourth on nine under with four players tied for sixth a shot further behind.

Rich pickings

The win takes Karlsson to 19th in the Order of Merit and in line for a place in the lucrative World Golf Championship event at Valderrama next month.

"I was obviously very disappointed about the Ryder Cup and it almost felt like the season was over," Karlsson admitted.

"Mark (James) told me that he thought I hadn't played as well as Andrew after the US Open.

"It was a very difficult decision for him to take and actually if I was captain I would have picked Bernhard Langer because it was such an inexperienced team.

"That's behind me now and this win makes up for it."

Card scramble

With this being the last counting event of the season, the tournament saw several lesser-known players pick up valuable points in the quest to hang on to their Tour cards.

Scots Stephen Gallacher and Andrew Oldcorn made sure with decent finishes while Welshman Paul Affleck clung on to the last place in 115-name Tour following an anxious wait after missing the cut.

Compatriot Mark Mouland was not so lucky, a three-over-par final round proving costly and leaving him facing a trip to the qualifying school.

Sheffield's Malcolm Mackenzie, Barnsley's Stephen Field and former Ryder Cup player Joakim Haeggman will join him battling it out with the next crop of hopefuls for entry to next year's Tour.

Collated scores and totals in final round of Belgacom Open, Royal Zoute Golf Club, Knokke. (Gbr & Irl unless stated, Par 71) (x) denotes amateur

272 R Karlsson (Swe) 69 68 69 66
273 J Spence 70 68 68 67, R Goosen (Rsa) 65 71 67 70 275 G Turner (Nzl) 70 68 69 68, P-U Johansson (Swe) 69 66 70 70
276 S Gallacher 72 70 66 68, P Broadhurst 73 69 68 66, T Bjorn (Den) 73 68 69 66, M Lanner (Swe) 72 68 70 66
277 D Smyth 70 70 68 69
278 I Woosnam 70 70 68 70, S Tinning (Den) 70 69 69 70 279 A Wall 72 71 66 70
280 P Lawrie 73 69 68 70, B Langer (Ger) 72 70 71 67, J Van de Velde (Fra) 72 69 69 70, J Bickerton 69 71 69 71, JF Remesy (Fra) 72 68 68 72, S Kjeldsen (Den) 69 71 69 71, L Westwood 73 66 67 74, J Rivero (Spa) 67 71 72 70
281 MA Martin (Spa) 72 70 66 73, R Winchester 75 66 71 69, G Owen 74 67 74 66, S Ballesteros (Spa) 69 74 69 69, T Levet (Fra) 71 72 69 69, N Vanhootegem (Bel) 69 74 67 71, P Baker 72 72 66 71, M Mouland 70 68 69 74
282 J Coceres (Arg) 71 71 70 70, P McGinley 71 70 68 73, R Jacquelin (Fra) 72 69 67 74, B Davis 74 70 68 70, D Robertson 67 70 73 72, T Johnstone (Zim) 67 69 74 72
284 A Oldcorn 73 69 71 71, P Eales 73 69 71 71, A Cejka (Ger) 68 73 71 72, P Price 69 70 72 73, M James 68 71 72 73
285 V Phillips 70 72 72 71, D Edlund (Swe) 71 70 71 73, P Walton 73 67 74 71, J Haeggman (Swe) 68 71 77 69, M Farry (Fra) 76 69 69 71
286 R Claydon 71 71 71 73, D Clarke 73 67 72 74, A Beal 73 72 71 70, S Webster 71 74 70 71, P Mitchell 75 70 72 69
287 F Cea (Spa) 69 73 72 73, T Gillis (USA) 71 72 69 75, S Grappasonni (Ita) 75 69 71 72, M Mackenzie 72 72 71 72
288 G Evans 73 70 70 75
289 M Campbell (Nzl) 72 70 75 72, B Lane 72 68 75 74, A Langenaeken (Bel) 74 70 71 74, D Cooper 74 70 73 72
290 O Karlsson (Swe) 72 70 75 73, J Lomas 69 72 75 74 291 S Struver (Ger) 76 69 71 75, T Immelman (Rsa) 72 73 76 70
292 T Gogele (Ger) 70 73 72 77, R Muntz (Ned) 73 71 73 75, M Tunnicliff 75 69 73 75, D Gilford 76 69 71 76
293 D Howell 68 74 75 76
296 O Sellberg (Swe) 71 74 73 78
Rtd: E Canonica (Ita)
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