Ace Quiros prevails in Dubai
Spaniard fires hole-in-one en route to one-shot victory
Last Updated: 13/02/11 5:20pm
Quiros: hole-in-one at 11th
Alvaro Quiros produced an remarkable final round, which included a hole-in-one, on his way to a tense one-shot victory at the Dubai Desert Classic.
The Spaniard, who finished second in Qatar last week, carded two eagles but also a triple-bogey during a topsy-turvy final round of 68.
It left him at 11-under-par and that proved just good enough with Dane Anders Hansen unable to birdie the final hole to force a play-off.
Hansen (70) had to settle for a share of second alongside South Africa's James Kingston (67), while Scott Strange (68) of Australia, France's Jean-Baptiste Gonnet (70) and Spaniard Alvaro Velasco (70) tied for fourth on nine-under.
Rory McIlroy, who started the day in a share of the lead, dropped out of contention with a 74 that left him in the group in tenth at six-under, while Tiger Woods fell away towards the end of his round, signing for a 75 and finishing in 20th at four-under.
World number one Lee Westwood looked to have forced his way into the shake-up as he reached eight-under-par, but an unfortunate double-bogey, bogey finish meant he ended in 15th at five-under.
But it was Quiros who came from the pack to secure his fifth European Tour title in dramatic style.
One off the pace when he teed off on Sunday, the 28-year-old from Cadiz made the ideal start to his round as he chipped in for eagle at the driveable par-four second having bounded through the green.
He followed it with birdies at three and five to put himself into the lead at 11-under and looked to be in control, but then ran into all sorts of trouble on the eighth hole.
Having lost a ball amongst palm trees, he contrived to run up a triple-bogey seven that he later admitted had left him "shaken".
But if he was in shock he did not show it and responded in fine style with an excellent birdie putt at the ninth, before conjuring his sensational ace at the 11th after taking a wedge to the 170-yard par-three.
Carrying an injury to his right arm that he received some on-course treatment for, Quiros would go on to bogey the 14th, but a crucial birdie at the 16th proved pivotal as he posted a target of 11-under.
That knocked Kingston, who had already completed his round, out of the equation but meant Hansen - who had also been at 11-under before failing to get up-and-down from just off the green at the short 15th - could still catch him.
The Dane required a closing birdie at the par-five 18th to join Quiros, but a poor lay-up with his second ensured he was always struggling to do so and ultimately his 30-foot birdie putt never threatened the hole.
A delighted Quiros told Sky Sports afterwards: "Obviously for me it was a difficult situation. At the beginning of the day the situation looked perfect, after an early eagle and an early birdie, but then after the eighth hole I was shaken.
"I was lucky I had a good putt on the ninth (for birdie), but at the end the only thing that matters is the score and where you finish, and I finished in first place."
Of his magnificent hole-in-one, he continued: "It was three-quarters of a wedge and it was the perfect shot - once a year it happens!
"Obviously it was the positive point of the round. After the tenth hole without a birdie I was second or third with some of the other guys, and after the hole-in-one I was leader again so it was a good advantage.
"Everybody knows when you are in position to win a tournament the pressure is on and in my case I damaged myself, my forearm, so I was just surviving. It was a good survival."