Sunday, 02 May 2010
Alvaro Quiros  (Getty Images)
Alvaro Quiros (Getty Images)

Alvaro Quiros has joined Seve Ballesteros, Sergio Garcia and Antonio Garrido as the only home winners of the Open de España since 1972.

At 35th in the world, Quiros was the highest-ranked player in the field at the Real Club de Golf in Seville, and Europe's biggest hitter grabbed his fourth European Tour title with a par on the first hole of a play-off with English rookie James Morrison.

In his first start since winning in Madeira three weeks ago, 25 year old Morrison threatened to make it back-to-back victories in only the sixth and seventh European Tour events of his career.

But after firing a five under par 67 to force sudden death the former England youth cricketer - he shared a room with Alastair Cook - pulled his approach into the lake when the pair returned to the 432 yard 18th.

Morrison double-bogeyed to hand the title and winner's cheque of €333,330 to Quiros on a plate after they had tied on 11 under par.

The victory lifts the Malaga golfer from 17th to seventh in The Ryder Cup points standings.

As they fought out their play-off, though, long-time leader Mark Foster was left cursing the three foot putts he missed on the 16th and 18th green to lose by one.

His only European Tour victory came seven years and more than 200 events ago, but by three-putting first for par and then for bogey at the last he managed only a closing 74 after bringing a three stroke advantage into the day.

In stark contrast, Quiros was all smiles.

"I think it's one of the most important things in my life for sure," he said.

"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."

After going in the water on the long ninth and turning two behind, Quiros told television commentator Howard Clark that he was trying his best to throw the tournament away.

"Mark Foster was playing really well and I knew I had to make birdies," he added.

But Foster bogeyed the short 11th and his birdie on the fourth was the only one he managed all day.

Morrison earned a place on the circuit with only €5,000 to spare by finishing 18th on last season's Challenge Tour, but already in 2010 he has come first, second, fourth and sixth.

With his €222,220 runners-up prize he has already earned over €400,000 and has no reason to regret choosing golf over cricket.

"I'm loving every minute of it," he said. "This start is past my expectations, but you have to believe in yourself.

"This is the biggest prize I've ever played for. I've been good at not looking at that, but I did have a quick look this morning."

Morrison climbed into contention with an outward 32 and added a fifth birdie on the difficult 229 yard 17th thanks to a three iron to six feet.

"I play tough shots well for some reason, it focuses the mind more I suppose," he added.

Sadly, that did not hold true in the play-off, but from around 600 in the world at the start of the year he is heading towards the top 100 at some speed.

Foster had to be content with a share of third with France's Raphaël Jacquelin and Spaniard Alejandro Cañizares.


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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1QUIROS, AlvaroESP18-11
2MORRISON, JamesENG18-11
T3CAÑIZARES, AlejandroESP18-10
T3JACQUELIN, RaphaëlFRA18-10
T3FOSTER, MarkENG18-10

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