DUBAI (AFP) – Spain's Alvaro Quiros rode a roller-coaster of a round to win the Dubai Desert Classic on Sunday.
The 28-year-old bomber from Cadiz clinched the biggest win of his career after an eagle-two at the second, a triple-bogey seven at the eighth, and, above all else, a hole-in-one at the 11th.
|Alvaro Quiros adjusts his sunglasses before hitting a tee shot during the last round of the Dubai Desert Classic golf tournament in the Gulf emirate. AFP|
He came in with a four-under 68 and an 11-under total of 277 which gave him a one-stroke win over Dane Anders Hansen (70) and James Kingston of South Africa (67).
The win followed his second place finish behind Thomas Bjorn in Qatar last week and hoists Quiros into the lead in the European Tour's Race to Dubai. He will also move up to 21st in the world rankings, the highest of his career.
"The start was perfect with the eagle on two, but I was shaken after the eighth," he said.
"I was lucky with some putts around the turn and then a three-quarters wedge on the 11th - it was a perfect shot - once a year it happens."
Quiros started the day alongside Tiger Woods and Sergio Garcia in a seven way tie for fourth place one stroke behind joint leaders Rory McIlroy, Thomas Aiken and Hansen.
But on the back of the eagle at the second, he grabbed the lead and was three strokes clear of the field after five holes.
Disaster struck, however, at the eighth.
He hit a wild drive and had to take a drop in sand, which, unfortunately for him plugged. His next shot ended stuck up a palm tree and he eventually staggered off with a triple bogey seven. The lead had vanished.
Anyone of around 20 golfers were in with a shout at that stage, but the risk-taking Quiros made the break with a magnificent hole-in-one at the 11th where he hit a wedge from 161 yards.
Quiet-man Hansen draw level after grabbing an eagle at the 12th and when Quiros dropped a shot at the 14th, the Dane was briefly ahead.
But a birdie for Quiros at the 16th and a bogey for Hansen, playing on the hole behind him, switched their positions and there it remained as both parred their way home.
A subdued Woods never really got going as he sought his first win in 15 months.
Bogeys at two and three gave him a dismal start and although birdies at the 6th and 11th offered a glimmer of hope, he dropped shots at the 12th and 14th to end his challenge with a disappointing 75.
McIlroy, seeking to repeat his breakthrough tour win here in 2009, also gave himself too much to do with bogeys at one and four. He played steadily enough after that, but was always playing catch up on the leaders.
World number one Lee Westwood briefly flirted with the top of the leaderboard as he came around the turn, but a 6-6 finish, ruined his chances.
Still, with Martin Kaymer well out of the picture, the Englishman was assured of retaining the top spot he has held since unseating Woods on October 31.