Carlberg to win his card...Probably!

Sweden's Eric Carlberg reigns in Spain

By Martin on Mon, 21 Feb 2000 - 06:02

Sweden's Eric Carlberg completed his first professional victory after a six-year wait when he won the opening event on the 2000 European Challenge Tour, the Challenge de España at Badajoz.

Carlberg, 25, who had dominated the tournament after an opening 64, carded a closing 72 for 17-under-par 271 and a five-stroke margin over Spain's Carlos Rodiles, with another Spaniard, Francisco Valera, third at 277.

Raimo Sjöberg, also from Sweden, closed with 70 for fourth place at 278.

Even though Carlberg went into the final round leading by nine, he said he didn't feel at ease.

"I missed gaining my card by a single shot last year and I had a lot of top-10s without winning so I wasn't taking anything for granted," he said.

"I knew that if I started with a couple of bogeys and Francis or Raimo gained a couple of birdies the gap could close rapidly. When I three-putted the third it was down to seven but I managed to birdie the fifth to extend my lead to eight.

"Even then I wasn't comfortable and I didn't feel I had the tournament won until I teed off at the 18th. But I'm delighted to have won at last. This has given my season a great start and provided the factor that was missing last year. Now if I can gain a couple more wins I'll get my card and be playing on the main tour next year."

England's Carl Watts, who lost his card after an injury-plagued 1999, was Carlberg's nearest challenger after 36 holes, but he couldn't maintain it and shot 70 to finish fifth with Lee James, who shot 68.