An eagle on the final hole handed Spaniard Alvaro Quiros the biggest payday of his career, as he completed a Dubai double at the Earth Course with a two-shot win in the Dubai World Championship.
The Spaniard saw off Scot Paul Lawrie, who had thrown down a determined challenge throughout the final round, but just couldn’t overhaul the big-hitting Spaniard at the business end.
Beginning the final day 2 shots in front, Quiros quickly extended his lead with a run of three opening birdies as he threatened to make short work of the final day and romp to victory. But after a bogey on the fourth hole, victory became less assured as he began to mix gains with drops and he reached the turn 2-under par for his round.
However, Scotsman Lawrie – winner of the 1999 Open Championship at Carnoustie, and a 2011 winner at the Andalucia Open was determined to throw down the gauntlet to Quiros and opened his own challenge with five birdies of his own in the opening nine holes to overhaul the Spaniard and lead by one heading into the homeward nine.
Quiros tied the lead when Lawrie made a hash of the 12th hole, finding the bunker out of the rough and his recovery clipped the lip of the sand-trap and only just crawled onto the green. A missed putt later and Lawrie walked off with a bogey, before Quiros nosed in front with a birdie at the 14th hole. The pair swapped pars until the last hole where Quiros holed a monster putt to seal the win; Lawrie making a birdie, but it was never going to be enough.
Quiros’ final round 67 gave him a 19-under par winning score, two ahead of Lawrie who also signed for a 67. Luke Donald came through for sole possession of third place after closing with three successive birdies to finish on 16-under par and secure the Race To Dubai. The world number one could only be overhauled by a Rory McIlroy win and himself to finish outside the top-9. Donald becomes the first player in history to top both the PGA Tour and European Tour Order of Merit in the same season.
Quiros had earlier won the Dubai Desert Classic title at the beginning of the season, and the big-hitting Spaniard – he’s the longest on the European Tour for driving distance – clearly has an affinity with the place.
His win lifted him back into the world’s top-50 players – a massive jump to 21st, in fact – to secure a place at the US Masters. He collected €922,645 and also earned a share of the event’s bonus pool.
Lawrie meanwhile enjoyed his best season on the European Tour since 2002, almost halving his world ranking from 163rd to 87th following his second place finish.
Swede Peter Hanson missed a hatful of chances over the weekend to get involved in the finish, but took fourth place, two behind Donald while US Masters champion Charl Schwartzel finished fifth.
Rory McIlroy, who needed to win to have any chance of overhauling Luke Donald continued to battle the effects of suspected Dengue Fever but wasn’t able to produce his best over the weekend and carded three successive rounds of 71 to close in a tie for 11th place.
Open Champion Darren Clarke propped up the leaderboard, closing with a 76 to finish 11-over for the tournament on 299.
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