Titleist Brand Ambassador Robert Karlsson closed out the 2010 season with a come-from-behind victory at the Dubai World Championship, relying on a new Titleist 910 driver, a bag full of Titleist equipment and precision down the stretch.
Karlsson rolled in his Titleist Pro V1x golf ball from 4 feet for birdie on the second hole of a sudden-death playoff with fellow Pro V1x loyalist Ian Poulter to capture the victory – Karlsson's second of the season and 11th of his European Tour career.
When all was said and done, Karlsson had played the par-5 18th hole at Jumeirah Golf Estates' Earth Course three times Sunday, once in regulation and twice in the playoff. All three times, Karlsson left himself birdie putts of 5 feet or less.
He made the first one to force the playoff with Poulter, finishing off a 5-under 67 that featured a birdie-birdie-eagle start. The second one halved the first playoff hole, and the last one captured the crown.
“It's a fantastic field, and obviously when we have all of the best players in Europe together, the way it looks now, it's going to be a great field - so to win here is fantastic,” said Karlsson, who earned his first victory of the season in January at the Commercialbank Qatar Masters. Karlsson also earned a pair of runner-up finishes, in June at the PGA Tour's St. Jude Classic in Memphis and last month at the Portugal Masters.
"I'm very happy with this week, and the year in whole actually, winning two times, and a second in Memphis in America, I lost to (Pro V1x loyalist Lee Westwood) in a playoff. … If I win twice in a year, it's a pretty good year."
Karlsson and Poulter both ended the four days in Dubai at 14-under 274, one better than Westwood, the World No. 1. Titleist Brand Ambassador Rory McIlroy finished fifth, another shot back.
In total, 35 players trusted Titleist golf balls at the Dubai World Championship, nearly three times the nearest competitor with 12.
Karlsson was also one of three Titleist Brand Ambassadors to find the winner's circle last week using the Titleist 910 driver, which began shipping to golf shops worldwide just a couple weeks ago.
Karlsson used a Titleist 910D3 model with a Graphite Design Tour AD DI-6 shaft and the SureFit Tour (SFT) hosel in the D•2 position (-.75 less loft, +1.5 upright), and hit 76.8 percent of his fairways for the week. Karlsson also hit 77.8 percent of his greens in regulation and averaged 1.63 putts per green in regulation, which ranked first.
Also in Karlsson's bag were two new Titleist 910 fairway metals (13.5 and 19 degrees) with Grafalloy ProLaunch Red shafts and the SureFit Tour hosel in the D•4 position (+.75 more loft, standard lie).
Here's a closer look at Karlsson's Titleist equipment:
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
Driver: Titleist 910D3 9.5, D•2 SFT Setting (Graphite Design Tour AD DI-6)
Fairway metals (13.5, 19): Titleist 910F, D•4 SFT Setting (Grafalloy ProLaunch Red)
Irons (3-PW): Titleist MB (True Temper Dynamic Gold SL)
Wedges (49, 56, 60): Titleist Vokey Design Spin Milled (True Temper Dynamic Gold SL)
Putter: Scotty Cameron Newport prototype
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Karlsson's victory was one of three on the weekend for Titleist Brand Ambassadors. In 2010, Titleist golf ball players have recorded 144 total victories across the worldwide professional tours, 120 more than the nearest competitor with 24:
• JAPAN TOUR: Titleist Brand Ambassador Michio Matsumura (new Pro V1x, 910D2 driver, 910H hybrid, AP2 irons, Vokey Design TVD approach wedge, Vokey Design lob wedge) became the third player to win on the worldwide professional tours using the new Titleist Pro V1x golf ball, outlasting fellow Titleist Brand Ambassador Do-hoon Kim in a sudden-death playoff at the Casio World Open.
On the fourth playoff hole, Kim conceded victory after Matsumura hit his third shot inches from the cup.
It was the second victory of the season for Matsumura, 27, following his win last month at the Tokai Classic, and first after putting the new Pro V1x golf ball in play.
Last month, Pro V1x loyalist Padraig Harrington captured the Iskandor Johor Open in Malaysia after putting the new Pro V1x prototype golf ball into play for the first time. Last week, Pro V1x loyalist Steven Bowdtich won the Cellarbrations NSW PGA Championship using the new ball.
In total, 43 players trusted Titleist golf balls at the Casio World Open, compared to 25 for the nearest competitor. Titleist was also the top choice in Hybrids (24); and Sand, Lob & Approach Wedges (75).
• AUSTRALASIAN TOUR: Titleist Brand Ambassador Peter O’Malley (Pro V1x, 910D2 driver, 910F fairway metal, CB irons, Vokey Design wedges, Scotty Cameron Kombi S putter) claimed the 2010 NSW Open hosted by Nathan Green following a three-way playoff with fellow Australian Peter Cooke (Pro V1x) and British Amateur Tom Lewis.
It was O’Malley's first PGA Tour of Australasia title in five years, his last win coming at the 2005 NZ PGA Championship.
O'Malley was one of 116 players in the 156-player field that teed off with Titleist golf balls, while all of the professionals that finished in the top 10 trusted a Titleist golf ball for their success.
• ASIAN TOUR: Titleist was the overwhelming choice in golf balls at the 2010 King's Cup at Singha Park GC with 88 players, nearly four times the nearest competitor with 24.