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Karlsson cruises to Merit title

-8 S Kjeldsen (Den) -6 M Kaymer (Ger), A Wall -4 S Garcia (Spa), L Westwood Selected others:+1 D Clarke +2 P Harrington +9 R Karlsson (Swe)

Robert Karlsson
Karlsson becomes the first Swede to lift the Order of Merit

Sweden's Robert Karlsson could afford to finish tied for 32nd place as his Order of Merit challengers fell away on the final day of the Volvo Masters.

Karlsson, 39, lifted the title despite finishing 17 strokes behind Valderrama winner Soren Kjeldsen of Denmark.

Lee Westwood, needing victory for a chance to deny Karlsson, shot a 72 to finish five behind Kjeldsen, with Padraig Harrington tied for 13th.

Kjeldsen's even par 71 gave him an eight-under total of 276 to win.

He wrapped up victory having led the competition from the moment he posted a sparkling first-round 65.

This has been the hardest week I've ever experienced in golf

Robert Karlsson

Germany's Martin Kaymer and England's Anthony Wall shared second place, two shots back, with Sergio Garcia tied with Westwood for fourth place.

"In the last three-and-a-half years I have taken myself to a new level and this is fantastic," said Karlsson, having lifted the Harry Vardon Trophy.

"It would have been fantastic to cap it off with a good week, but I'm not going to be ashamed about this week," he said.

"This has been the hardest week I've ever experienced in golf. It's one of those situations where you have it in your own hands, but not really, and your focus wanders quite a bit."

Westwood, Harrington and Miguel Angel Jimenez could all have deprived Karlsson of the title on the final day but all fell short.

BBC Sport's Iain Carter

Westwood, lying joint second with a round to go, began to fall out of contention when he bogeyed the seventh and eighth, dropping from three behind to seven adrift when Kjeldsen birdied the 11th and 12th.

"I didn't feel I was hitting it great all week. I wasn't straight enough, but I've played well all year and I'm pleased about being back in the top 10," said the Englishman.

Harrington, second on the money list entering the final event, scuppered his chances with a double bogey on the 16th in his rain-delayed third round, though he recovered to post a final-round 68.

He required first or second place but finished on two over.

European Order of Merit final standings:

1. Robert Karlsson, (Swe), 2,732,747.83 euros
2. Padraig Harrington, (Ire), 2,459,108.73 euros
3. Lee Westwood, (Eng), 2,424,641.58 euros
4. Miguel Angel Jimenez, (Spn), 2,066,596.11 euros
5. Graeme McDowell, (NI), 1,859,346.26 euros
6. Ross Fisher, (Eng), 1,836,529.69 euros
7. Henrik Stenson, (Swe), 1,798,616.76 euros
8. Martin Kaymer, (Ger), 1,794,499.96 euros
9. Sergio Garcia, (Spn), 1,591,916.99 euros
10. Soren Kjeldsen, (Den), 1,440,979.05 euros

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see also
European Masters leaderboard
03 Sep 09 |  Golf
Westwood gains at wet Valderrama
01 Nov 08 |  Golf
Weather plays havoc in Valderrama
31 Oct 08 |  Golf
Karlsson makes solid title start
30 Oct 08 |  Golf
Karlsson strengthens Merit hopes
18 Oct 08 |  Golf
Karlsson boosts Merit title bid
16 Oct 08 |  Golf
Rose claims Order of Merit title
04 Nov 07 |  Golf

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