Quiros wins Spanish play-off
Charismatic Alvaro Quiros has won the Spanish Open on the first extra hole of a play-off with England’s James Morrison.
Charismatic Alvaro Quiros won the Spanish Open on the first extra hole of a play-off with England’s James Morrison at the Real Club in Seville on Sunday.
Apart from delighting a tense gallery, Quiros also joined Seve Ballesteros and Sergio Garcia as the only home winners of the Spanish Open since 1972.
At 35th in the world, Quiros was the highest-ranked player in the field and Europe’s biggest hitter grabbed his fourth Tour title with a par on the first hole of a play-off with English rookie James Morrison.
In his first start since winning in Madeira three weeks ago, 25-year-old Morrison threatened to make it back-to-back victories in only the sixth and seventh Tour events of his career.
But after firing a five under par 67 to force sudden death the former England youth cricketer – he shared a room with Alastair Cook – pulled his approach into the lake when the pair returned to the 432-yard 18th.
Morrison then double-bogeyed to hand the title and winner’s cheque of nearly £287,000 to Quiros after they had tied on 11 under par.
The victory lifts the Malaga golfer from 17th to seventh in the Ryder Cup points standings and that will delight captain Colin Montgomerie, who has been singing his praises for months.
As they fought out their play-off, though, long-time leader Mark Foster was left cursing the three-foot putts he missed on the 16th and 18th green to lose by one.
His only European Tour victory came seven years and more than 200 events ago, but by three-putting first for par and then for bogey at the last he managed only a closing 74 after bringing a three-stroke advantage into the day.
In stark contrast, Quiros was all smiles.
“I think it’s one of the most important things in my life for sure,” he said.
“To be the winner of your Open is something really, really great – with the Ryder Cup and the World Cup it’s the best three things in golf for me.”
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