Rikard Karlberg sees off Martin Kaymer to claim Italian Open

After taking a three shot lead into the back nine the German capitulated late on

Sweden's Rikard Karlberg defeated Martin Kaymer in a play-off to win his first European Tour title after the two-time major winner squandered a three-shot lead in the Italian Open.

Kaymer looked to be in command when he cruised to the turn in 32 at Parco Reale di Monza, but dropped shots at the 10th, 13th and 14th to fall back into a nine-way tie for the lead.

Karlberg birdied three of his last five holes to set the clubhouse target after a closing 67 and saw former world number one Kaymer and Sweden’s Jen Fahrbring join him on 19 under with birdies on the 16th and 17th respectively.

Fahrbring bogeyed the 18th to drop into a seven-way tie for third before Kaymer left his birdie putt on the last inches short to ensure more than 72 holes were needed to decide the 72nd Italian Open.


Both players made par on the first extra hole before the 28-year-old Karlberg holed from 20 feet for a winning birdie when they returned to the 18th.

“I didn’t want to win on his mistake, I wanted to make a birdie,” said Karlberg, whose previous best finish this season was ninth in the European Masters. “To do it against Kaymer is incredible.

“On the second extra hole I had a perfect yardage and a perfect lie (in the rough) so it was quite lucky, but I hit it great and that felt nice.

“It’s fantastic. Me and my wife are moving from Abu Dhabi back to Sweden, with twins on the way. A lot of things are happening this year and this is just a part of it, but it means a lot.”

Mention of Abu Dhabi will bring back bad memories for Kaymer, who blew a 10-shot lead in the final round there in January at the start of a season in which he failed to qualify for the lucrative FedEx Cup play-offs.

A closing 68 left Peter Lawrie at 15 under par and the leading Irishman, three shots ahead of Pádraig Harrington who closed with an excellent 67.

Meanwhile a disappointing 73 saw Paul McGinley finish on seven under.