Spain’s Alvaro Quiros won the Portugal Masters at the Oceânico Victoria Golf Course in Vilamoura after holding off a determined challenge from Europe’s form player, Robert Karlsson.
The 25 year old from Cadiz pocketed the €500,000 winner’s cheque - the largest of his career - after a final round 68 for a 19 under par total and immediately dedicated his win to Seve Ballesteros, recovering in hospital from an operation to remove a brain tumour.
"My caddy told me that Seve always wanted to beat everybody and today 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. Today was a tough day for me with the long game. But with the short game, I kind of stopped and remembered him, you know, when he made chip and putts and wonderful recoveries.
"Seve played in a different way of the rest of the world. He was something special. He was playing more with the heart than the real game, and today was one of those days. We think you have two ways to do the birdies: The easy way, driver, green, one putt; and the other one is drive, I don't know where, chip, I don't know where, and a good putt, and this is the way that I played today."
European Order of Merit leader Karlsson, who had begun the final round only a shot behind the Spaniard, had to settle for a share of third place after carding a 71.
Karlsson conceded second spot to Scotland’s Paul Lawrie after The 1999 Open Champion holed a 30 foot birdie putt on the last for a 67 to finish three strokes behind the winner.
Quiros, however, took the title in some style, calmly sinking a five foot birdie putt on the 18th green.
He said: “Well, you can imagine how happy I am right now. It's been a really tough year for me. This is like a little help.”
The Spaniard is one of the biggest hitters on Tour, but it is not only his length that will attract golf fans across Europe but his engaging sense of humour, which was evident from the first tee when he starting cracking jokes with his two playing partners.
He had to get up early in to complete his third round after a thunderstorm forced play to be abandoned early last night. And in completing five holes he moved one shot ahead of the field.
It was an advantage he did not hold onto for long when, after outrageously birdieing the opening hole with a 50 foot putt, he immediately bogeyed the second. It was the start of an afternoon when the lead was to change hands regularly.
A birdie at the second took Ross Fisher to the top of the leaderboard and after an early dropped shot, Karlsson then produced three birdies on the trot.
But the tournament was finally sorted on the back nine as Fisher dropped back with a run of three successive bogeys and Karlsson found water at the 17th.
Lawrie, who produced his best tournament finish for three years, had previously only managed one top ten finish this year but after signing for a final round 67, he sounded very relieved, saying: “It feels great to be competitive again.”
Karlsson, who extended his lead at the top of the Order of Merit over Padraig Harrington to €297,424, said: “I did my part and I didn't play that well today, so there we go. But I had a chance up until the 17th where I hit a poor shot, but it's been one of those weeks where I haven't hit the ball great, and when it's been in between it's just been a bit, and I've had a few indifferent shots.”
For Quiros, he returns home to Spain for next week's CASTELLO MASTERS Costa Azuhar and then the Volvo Masters at Valderrama, next to his home town and there there is now a place in the HSBC Champions in Shanghai.