Robert Karlsson is not a household name to fans who follow the PGA Tour. His biggest distinction may be that he is relatively tall for a golfer—6-feet, 5-inches. Everything else about the Swede, though, is soft spoken.
Ranked No. 23 in the world and with 11 European Tour titles, Karlsson has accomplished a lot. He also has a lot to accomplish—winning a major and winning on the PGA Tour being high on the bucket list.
After two rounds of 66-65 at the FedEx St. Jude Classic, Karlsson will be on top of the leaderboard. This is right about where he was last year when he shot 67-66 and was just two shots back of world No. 2 Lee Westwood, whom Karlsson lost to in a playoff.
“I think last year when I played the practice round, I think I learned a lesson,” Karlsson said. “I took on a little bit too much from the tee … this golf course, if you start hitting it in the rough, it’s very, very difficult to get it close to the pin sometimes. It can be better to have an 8-iron from the fairway or 7-iron from the fairway instead of a wedge from the rough. The greens are firm and the rough is really, really brutal to control the golf ball out of.”
Karlsson, a member of the PGA Tour for 2011, has had scattered results this year with only one top-10 finish—at last month’s Crowne Plaza Invitational where he posted a T5.
In that finish, Karlsson recorded four rounds in the 60s. He is halfway to doing the same this week in Memphis, so he may just have the recipe for success.
“I was a tied winner after 72 holes last year, nobody beat me over 72 holes,” said Karlsson of last year’s FedEx St. Jude Classic. “That’s good when that happens. Then we have to find a winner. It wasn’t me that time. When you’ve played well on a golf course, you usually want to come back, and I definitely wanted to come back.”