Spain’s Alvaro Quiros came through a playoff against Zander Lombard of South Africa to win The Rocco Forte Open at Verdura on Sicily.
Alvaro Quiros secured his first European Tour win since 2011 with a playoff victory over South Africa’s Zander Lombard in The Rocco Forte Open on Sicily.
Quiros began the final day five clear of the field and the last round looked like being a procession when the Spaniard extended his advantage by two through six holes.
But the back nine was a struggle for Quiros. Lombard birdied the 7th and 9th holes to reduce the deficit to four shots. Quiros dropped a shot at the 10th and then another at the 15th. On the 16th, the 34-year-old found his ball in an unplayable lie after his tee shot and had to take a penalty drop. The resulting double bogey meant he and Lombard were tied at the top of the board.
Both men bogeyed the 17th and then both had to make solid up-and-downs on the last for pars to deny Li Haotong a chance in the playoff. The Chinese player had closed with 66 to end the week on 13-under-par.
In the playoff, Quiros and Lombard parred the first hole and it looked like the same result on the second playoff hole. But Lombard missed a very short putt and the title went to Quiros.
“I’m very happy,” said the Spaniard. “Obviously it shouldn’t be like that at the end but it’s a victory and that’s the most important thing. It’s been a little bit of a mess. The game wasn’t too bad, just the last few holes I started to struggle with the left to right wind.”
3 Talking points from The Rocco Forte Open
1 – This victory is the first for Alvaro Quiros since the Dubai World Championship of 2011. After making swing changes in 2012, the Spaniard began to struggle. He lost his European Tour playing privileges and dropped as low as 703 on the Official World Golf Ranking. He is now back inside the top-250 and will have playing rights on the European Tour until the end of 2018.
Alvaro Quiros swing sequence:
2 – Lombard was also looking to regain his card but he came up agonisingly short, missing his par putt on the second playoff hole. This was his second runner’s-up finish on the European Tour, following the 2016 Joburg Open. The 22-year-old is up to 77th on the Race to Dubai and will hope to make enough points during the events he can play in through the rest of the season to earn back his playing rights.
3 – Li Haotong came up just one shot shy of making the playoff after an excellent closing round of 66. The highlight of his day came on the par-5 12th. He holed his second shot to record an albatross two. It was the second albatross on the European Tour this season – Prayad Marksaeng bagged one at the Hero Indian Open
Rocco Forte Open Verdura GC, Sicily May 18-21 Purse: €1,000,000 Par: 71
1 Alvaro Quiros (Esp) 63 64 70 73 270 €166,660 2 Zander Lombard (RSA) 62 68 72 68 270 €111,110 3 Li Haotong (Chn) 64 68 73 66 271 €62,600 4 Pep Angles (Esp) 69 66 68 69 272 €50,000 T5 Marcus Fraser (Aus) 66 66 74 67 273 €38,700 T5 Jason Scrivener (Aus) 68 67 71 67 273 €38,700 7 David Horsey (Eng) 64 66 74 70 274 €30,000 T8 Marcel Siem (Ger) 68 68 71 68 275 €22,466 T8 Mark Foster (Eng) 67 64 75 69 275 €22,466 T8 Julien Guerrier (Fra) 65 68 72 70 275 €22,466
Note: Player score in bold signifies Titleist ball usage
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Fergus is Golf Monthly's resident expert on the history of the game and has written extensively on that subject. He is a golf obsessive and 1-handicapper. Growing up in the North East of Scotland, golf runs through his veins and his passion for the sport was bolstered during his time at St Andrews university studying history. He went on to earn a post graduate diploma from the London School of Journalism. Fergus has worked for Golf Monthly since 2004 and has written two books on the game; "Great Golf Debates" together with Jezz Ellwood of Golf Monthly and the history section of "The Ultimate Golf Book" together with Neil Tappin , also of Golf Monthly.
Fergus once shanked a ball from just over Granny Clark's Wynd on the 18th of the Old Course that struck the St Andrews Golf Club and rebounded into the Valley of Sin, from where he saved par. Who says there's no golfing god?
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