Wednesday, 24 March 2010
Alvaro Quiros  (Getty Images)
Alvaro Quiros (Getty Images)

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After four weeks in South Africa, three in the Middle East, two in America and one in India, Malaysia and Morocco The European Tour is going to take place in Europe this week for the first time this season.

And two players with an extra reason for wanting to mark the occasion with a win at the Open de Andalucia de Golf in Malaga are Swede Alex Noren and South African Louis Oosthuizen.

It could earn them a place in the Masters Tournament in a fortnight's time.

Noren won the Omega European Masters in Switzerland last September, but even though he has had three top six finishes since then he is still 66th in the Official World Golf Rankings.

The top 50 after this week's events around the world receive invitations to Augusta National and there should be just enough points on offer for Noren to have a chance of making his debut.

Oosthuizen played there for the first time last year, but managed rounds of only 73 and 77 and missed the halfway cut by five.

He missed a golden opportunity to seal a return trip when he finished second to Welshman Rhys Davies at the Trophée Hassan II in Rabat on Sunday after leading by three with 15 holes to play.

That was Oosthuizen's fourth runners-up finish on The European Tour, although he has won fives times as a professional in his home country.

Victory by either of them at Parador de Málaga Golf would leave them waiting anxiously for scores from the Arnold Palmer Invitational in Florida to learn their fate.

Already exempt and playing this week are local favourite Miguel Angel Jiménez, defending champion Søren Kjeldsen and Italian Francesco Molinari, while Alvaro Quiros is 33rd on the rankings and certain to make his second Augusta appearance.

The big-hitting 27 year old is desperate for a strong showing this week to build his confidence up ahead of the year’s first Major.

Quiros was given a lesson he will never forget on his debut in the Masters Tournament last year, but when he returns in two weeks' time he promises that things will be different.

The highest-ranked player in Malaga was left shocked and stunned after finishing 85th out of 96 at Augusta following rounds of 78 and 75.

"It was too suffering for me," he said. "I was hitting the ball bad and the course was a completely different thing to what I was expecting. It was a tough week.

"I have to be honest - it was a really frustrating tournament. You need to know all the tricks. Augusta changes from Wednesday to Thursday, something that is impossible to believe and for me it was impossible almost.”

Finishing sixth at the World Golf Championships-CA Championship in Miami two weeks ago was a timely boost for his confidence - and another step towards a possible Ryder Cup debut in October.

"That is the most important thing this year and I will try to fight until the last tournament. There is no doubt of that."

Darren Clarke, Paul McGinley and Pablo Martin, whose father died of cancer in January aged only 58, are among the other top attractions.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1OOSTHUIZEN, LouisRSA18-17
T2FINCH, RichardENG18-14
T2WHITEFORD, PeterSCO18-14
T4MOLINARI, FrancescoITA18-12
T4COLES, RobertENG18-12
T6MORRISON, JamesENG18-11
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