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Sunday, 21 May 2017
Alvaro Quiros  (Getty Images)
Alvaro Quiros (Getty Images)

Alvaro Quiros took a four-shot lead into the back nine of The Rocco Forte Open - Verdura, Sicily as another superb putting display moved him to the brink of regaining his European Tour card.

The Spaniard's sixth and last win came in 2011 and he has dropped to 703rd in the Official World Golf Ranking but he has been in sublime form at Verdura Golf Club on a tough and blustery weekend.

After taking advantage of calm conditions on days one and two, he carded a battling 70 on Saturday to open up a five-shot lead and turned in 33 in the final round to get to 19 under.

South African Zander Lombard went one better to trim the lead - which had been seven shots after six holes - as he searched for a first win in just his 25th European Tour event.

Spain's Pep Angles was then at 13 under after turning in 33 alongside China's Li Haotong, who carded a spectacular albatross on the par five 12th.

Angles was the man to cope best with the wind on Saturday as he posted a 68 and he made a bright start again with a birdie on the first, a start that was matched by Lombard who chipped to close range.

Renato Paratore took advantage of the par five second to move to 11 under but he was still six shots back when Quiros made his first birdie of the day on the same hole, with Lombard making it a birdie-birdie start.

The South African was dialled in but he saw a ten-footer for three in a row lip out on the third and the lead stayed at four.

It was soon up to six, however, as Quiros put his approach to the fourth to five feet with Lombard making a bogey and when he holed a stunning 50-foot right-to lefter from the fringe, he was in total control.

Lombard then kept up some degree of pressure moments later, holing a lengthy birdie putt for a third gain of the day.

Quiros has had a hot putter all week and he was at it again on the sixth, holing a lengthy double-breaker up the hill to move seven ahead again before Lombard cut the lead back with a third birdie of the week on the seventh.

Angles also birdied the seventh and when Quiros left his second shot at the eighth short of the green, he made a first bogey of the day.

A Lombard birdie on the par five ninth then cut the gap to four and all of a sudden the 22 year old had a sight of the lead, with Angles also making another gain.

Li had four birdies and a double-bogey on the front nine to turn in 34 before holing his second on the 12th for the second albatross of the season after Prayad Marksaeng at the Hero Indian Open.

Australia's Jason Scrivener was then at 12 under, a shot clear of countryman Marcus Fraser and two ahead of local favourite Paratore and South African Jbe Kruger.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1QUIROS, AlvaroESP18-14
2LOMBARD, ZanderRSA18-14
3LI, HaotongCHN18-13
4ANGLES, PepESP18-12
T5FRASER, MarcusAUS18-11
T5SCRIVENER, JasonAUS18-11

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