Robert Karlsson withdrew from The Open in 2012, stating that he would be taking a few weeks off to correct some bad habits, but no such habits were present today as he took the early clubhouse lead with a 69 to post the first sub-70 score of the day.
Conditions were generous throughout the morning, making low scores possible. Karlsson took full advantage and was understandably pleased with his round.
“It was a nice day to get out early,” said Karlsson. “I didn’t play fantastic but the course is out there to make some birdies on. A lot of missed shots, so did some really good recoveries, so a pretty good, solid round of golf.”
Karlsson missed eight consecutive cuts at The Open, but said that Royal Liverpool is where he learned to play links golf and that, at the age of 44, he is as prepared as ever.
“I put myself under way too much pressure and played with too small margins and you can’t do that on links golf,” he said. “I put myself in trouble and wasn’t patient enough. In 2006 when I played here, I came in pretty well. At the end of the day it’s 18 holes and 18 tees, it’s got to be conquered four times.
“I just played it pretty comfortably and finished 35th and it felt like, for me, it was a huge, huge step forward. So it was a good stepping stone to come here and kind of understand how to do it again.”
The mental aspect of golf can be many players’ undoing and Karlsson was no different in 2012, but he feels that side of his game is now under control.
“You just have to be patient with yourself and be nice to yourself,” he said. “I understood that I was the one who created [the situation in 2012] and that I could uncreate it. I understood this is a pattern like any other pattern. You start to stand too long over the ball, thinking too much, and all of a sudden I’ve been there for a minute.
“So I thought back enough to the time when it started to happen to see the signs, to recognise what I felt in the beginning. So that’s not an issue and hasn’t been for over a year.”