Birdie blitz puts Karlsson on leader's heels

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Oct 26 2012 01:56 PM | Updated as of Oct 26 2012 09:56 PM

SHANGHAI - Robert Karlsson fired eight birdies in his first 11 holes on Friday to close to within a shot of runaway first-round leader Jamie Donaldson as the second round of the BMW Masters began at Lake Malaren.

The 43-year-old Swede carded a remarkable six birdies in a row from the sixth hole after starting quickly with gains at the first and second to move to eight-under par for the round and nine-under for the championship.

That put him just one stroke behind Welshman Donaldson, who by the time he began his round had seen his overnight four-shot lead, courtesy of a brilliant first-day course-record 62, almost wiped out by the charging Karlsson.

At 6ft 5in, Karlsson is the tallest man on the European Tour and he is in need of a strong end to the season to make the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai next month.

Karlsson enjoyed the biggest win of his career at the Dubai event in 2010, but has failed to win on the European Tour since.

Currently 75th on the Race to Dubai, the former European number one needs to get into the top 60 to qualify for this year's edition of the season-ending tournament.

With a $7 million purse up for grabs in Shanghai and a $1.166 million cheque awaiting the winner, a high finish this week would propel him up the standings.

Donaldson, enjoying the best season of his career after winning a maiden European Tour title in Ireland, was in the final group with Ryder Cup stars Francesco Molinari and Peter Hanson -- who both started the day six under par.

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