March 13: Sweden’s Rikard Karlberg believes his recent good form is the key to his solid opening round when he carded a four-under-par 67 to trail the first round leaders by a single shot in tied-third place at the Solaire Open on Thursday.

Buoyed by his good showing at the King’s Cup which was held at his home course at the Black Mountain Golf Club in January, the Swede continued his chase for his third win on the Asian Tour by marking his card with five birdies and one bogey to stay close to Australia’s Sam Brazel and Philippines’ James Ryan Lam who lead with their matching 66s.

“I played good at the King’s Cup Golf Hua Hin (Thailand) and it was windy there. I was in Abu Dhabi after that and the wind was quite strong as well so I guess I had good practice before coming here!

I found some confidence after finishing second at the King’s Cup Golf Hua Hin. I’m holding on to those memories and it seems to be working. I holed a 25 footer birdie on 17 and that kind of kept me going,” said Karlberg.

Karlberg, who started on the back-nine 10, got off to a scorching pace with four birdies on 10, 12, 14 and 17. He continued his birdie blitz with another on the seventh but spoilt his card with a lone bogey on the eighth.

“I played pretty solid and I putted well. I didn’t sink much outside of 10 feet but secured most putts from within that. Unfortunately I three-putted on hole eight. Other than that, my game is still solid,” said Karlberg.

Other Black Mountain sponsored players including Thailand’s Jazz Janewattananond and American Berry Henson signed for a 70 to stay four shots off the leaders in tied-18th place.