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Alvaro Quiros of Spain has won the Portugal Masters in Villamoura holding off the challenge of 1999 Open Champion Paul Lawrie and current Order of Merit leader Robert Karlsson.
The 25-year-old from just across the Spanish border in Cadiz, pocketed the winner’s cheque of €500,000 and climbed to 24th on the Order of Merit. Quiros began the final round at the Oceanico Victoria course in Villamoura with a one shot lead over form player Karlsson and England’s Ross Fisher. Playing as a three-ball it seemed from the outset the tournament would be decided within the final group.
The Spaniard started fast, holing an outrageous birdie putt at the first. But he immediately gave that shot back with a bogey at the second and, when Fisher birdied, it was tied at the top. Karlsson then made a move with three birdies in a row from the third.
The lead changed hands a number of times and it looked as though the tournament would go right down to the wire. But Fisher took himself out of the running with three bogeys in a row on the back nine and it was down to a two horse race.
Quiros held a one shot advantage over Karlsson coming to the par five 17th and the big Swede needed to make something happen. Going for the green in two, he slightly mis-hit his iron shot and it came up short in the water. The best he could manage was a bogey six. Quiros got up and down from the side of the green for a birdie four earning the luxury of a three shot lead going down the 18th.
He finished in some style, firing a wedge into the green and holing from 10 feet for a birdie three and a four shot victory.
It was a second European Tour win for Quiros who will now have a spot in the season-ending Volvo Masters and the HSBC Champions in China. He dedicated the win to Seve who is recovering in hospital following an operation to remove a brain tumour.
“I drew inspiration from thinking about the way he played his golf,” said Quiros. "Seve was and still is a personal inspiration for all of the Spaniards and we wish him well.”
Karlsson was overtaken to second place by a fast-finishing Paul Lawrie. The Aberdonian holed a great putt on the final green for a final round of 67 and a finishing total of -16. It’s been a tough year for the Scot, prior to this week he’d managed just one top ten. “It feels great to be competitive again.” He said.
Karlsson who was going for three victories in a row was philosophical about his performance. “I didn't play that well today, so there we go.” He said. 1 Alvaro Quiros (Esp) 66 68 67 68 269 €500,000 2 Paul Lawrie (Sco) 70 65 70 67 272 €333,330 T3 Robert Karlsson (Swe) 69 67 66 71 273 €155,550 T3 Ross Fisher (Eng) 67 70 65 71 273 €155,550 T3 Steve Webster (Eng) 72 67 66 68 273 €155,550 6 James Kingston (RSA) 69 71 64 70 274 €105,000 T7 Simon Dyson (Eng) 71 69 67 68 275 €77,400 T7 Gregory Bourdy (Fra) 69 67 68 71 275 €77,400 T7 Soren Hansen (Den) 73 65 65 72 275 €77,400 T10 Rory McIlroy (NIR) 69 69 69 69 276 €55,600 T10 Anthony Wall (Eng) 72 66 70 68 276 €55,600 T10 Chris Wood (Eng) 73 70 68 65 276 €55,600
Note: Players 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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