Updated: Wednesday, 22 January 2014 05:25 | By Agence France-Presse

Karlsson a natural at shooting birdies

Nailing a few birdies is fun – whether it’s on a golf course or on a shooting range. Just ask Robert Karlsson.

Karlsson a natural at shooting birdies

Robert Karlsson of Sweden celebrates his par save on the ninth green during the first round of the Web.com Tour Championship held on the Dye's Valley Course at TPC Sawgrass on September 26, 2013 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida - by Michael Cohen

The 2010 Qatar Masters champion proved he is more than a decent hand with a rifle when he went clay-pigeon shooting in Doha on Tuesday.

The Swede, who has won 11 times on the European Tour, showed pinpoint accuracy by hitting multiple targets as he geared up for the Qatar Masters beginning Wednesday.

“I enjoy shooting. My father taught me when I was young, but I was a bit unsure about it until I was much older. Then I did my military service and learnt properly then,” said the 44-year-old.

Karlsson, who won the European Tour money list in 2008, is a big fan of the Qatar Masters and is set for his 13th appearance.

“I like the hotels in Qatar; I like the atmosphere at the golf tournament; I like the golf course. It’s a good event and the course has usually played pretty difficult, because it can be windy, and is usually quite a tough set-up on the golf course,” Karlsson said.

“It’s windy and the par-five ninth is very long (639 yards). If you play it well, you can be a couple under, but if not, you can be a couple over and that’s unusual for a par-five,” he said.

“It’s a little bit different to many other golf courses. Here you have to play a very patient game, take the birdies when they come and try to avoid making any mistakes.”

Meanwhile, Jason Dufner is eager to put his only previous experience at the Doha Golf Club to good use in the tournament.

One of the few Americans to have played the event, Dufner is making his second straight appearance hoping to go better than the tied ninth place finish he managed last year.

By his own admission though, he has a formidable task on hand.

“It's tough.  It's a long golf course,” Dufner told journalists yesterday.

“A lot of the par 5s are not reachable for me, so I need to be in the fairways.  I need to wedge it well on those par 5s. The rough's up this year a good bit.”

With the notorious Shamal desert wind proving a nightmare for many a player over the years, Dufner is preparing himself mentally for any eventuality on the course.

“Haven't really played the golf course in too much of a wind.  I heard the winds can get pretty tricky so that can be a challenge,” he said.

However, he feels putting won’t be much of a problem this time round.

“The greens are in much better shape this year than last year, so I think holing putts will be a little bit easier for me. So excited about the challenge the course presents,” said the 2013 US PGA Championship winner.

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