Pro sets course record after wild 18th hole kick off grandstand

Robert Karlsson of Sweden watches his hit from the fairway on the 16th hole during the third round of the Regions Tradition at Greystone Golf and Country Club on May 13, 2023 in Birmingham, Alabama.

Robert Karlsson got a great break on his way to a course record.

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They say it’s better to be lucky than good, but Robert Karlsson was definitely both Saturday.

After a course-record 63, Karlsson shares the 54-hole lead at the Regions Tradition with Steve Stricker as he looks to make his first PGA Tour Champions win a major.

But it didn’t come without a hint of controversy on the final hole.

The 18th hole at Greystone Golf and Country Club is a 526-yard, downhill par-5 with a small stream running left and behind the green. But this week and every time the course hosts the Tradition, the PGA Tour places a grandstand on the mounding between the back of the green and the water, effectively taking it out of play.

The pin was tucked in the back of the green tucked behind the only greenside bunker on the right side. Right before Karlsson took the club back, NBC’s Robert Damron mentioned how the bunker was playing soft, implying a direct line at the pin could result in a plugged lie.

Karlsson took no chances. And then some.

He started his second shot left of the pin, caught a flyer out of the light rough and flew it well over the green, catching the grandstand on the fly.

The ball hit just below the metal rails by the seating part of the grandstand and actually took a fairly soft bounce and back onto the green.

“How do you get to spin off the grandstands?” NBC Analyst Lanny Wadkins said. “What a play by Karlsson. When it’s going your way, it’s going your way.”

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There is no way to tell for sure if Karlsson’s ball would have flown the mounds and gone into the pond behind the green, but there’s a good chance he knew long was a safe miss with the grandstand just a few feet from the green.

His long eagle putt didn’t go as planned, as he rammed it nearly eight feet by, but he made the comebacker to post the course record.

Jack Hirsh Editor

Jack Hirsh is an assistant editor at GOLF. A Pennsylvania native, Jack is a 2020 graduate of Penn State University, earning degrees in broadcast journalism and political science. He was captain of his high school golf team and recently returned to the program to serve as head coach. Jack also still *tries* to remain competitive in local amateurs. Before joining GOLF, Jack spent two years working at a TV station in Bend, Oregon, primarily as a Multimedia Journalist/reporter, but also producing, anchoring and even presenting the weather. He can be reached at