Big-hitting Spaniard Alvaro Quiros joined golf legend Seve Ballesteros and Sergio Garcia in an elite group of home winners after capturing the Spanish Open on Sunday at Real Club de Golf de Sevilla. Quiros – ranked 35th in the world, and the highest ranking player in the tournament field – won his fourth Tour title with a par on the first extra hole to see off the challenge of English Tour rookie James Morrison.
Morrison, who won three weeks previously in Madeira threatened to secure back-to-back victories shot a closing 67 to force the play-off in his first Tour start since that Madeira success. Quiros had carded a closing round of 70 and the pair found themselves locked together on 11-under par 277.
The pair returned to the 18th tee for sudden-death and it Quiros who prevailed with a par as Morrison could only muster a double-bogey after putting his approach to the green in the water hazard. Meanwhile, long-time leader of the tournament, Englishman Mark Foster would be left to rue missed three-foot putts on the 16th and 18th holes to lose by one shot. Foster had taken a three-shot lead into the final day’s play but stumbled to a final round 74 to prolong a losing streak stretching back more than 200 events.
Quiros’ countryman, Alejandro Canizares and France’s Raphael Jacquelin joined Foster in a share for third place.
Quiros’ success made him £287,000 richer and lifted the Spaniard to seventh from seventeenth place in the Ryder Cup points standings.
“I think it’s one of the most important things in my life for sure,” Quiros said after his win. “To be the winner of your Open is something really, really great. With the Ryder Cup and the World Cup it’s the best three things in golf for me.”