Spain’s Juan Quiros collected his maiden European Seniors Tour title on only his seventh start, closing with a five under par 65 to win the Bad Ragaz PGA Seniors Open by two strokes from England’s Carl Mason.
Quiros finished atop the Golf Club Bad Ragaz leaderboard on 14 under par 196 while Mason, a two-time winner of the European Seniors Tour Order of Merit, continued his return to form with a final round 65 to finish on 12 under.
England’s Nick Job and Scotland’s Bill Longmuir, both of whom had shared the overnight lead with Quiros, could only muster rounds of 68 to finish in a share of third place alongside Australian Stewart Ginn (64) on 11 under.
In his younger years Quiros spent 13 seasons on The European Tour without tasting victory, so it was a special moment for the 50 year old.
“This is a beautiful,” declared the jovial Spaniard after collecting the winner's cheque for €31,500. “At the end of last year I was really struggling with my back and my aim for this season was just to keep my card. To win, especially so soon, is a massive bonus and now I don’t need to worry about keeping my card anymore.”
Qurios was swiftly into his stride with birdies at the first two holes and he was four under for his round when a wobble at the short par four 15th, where he hit his short pitch shot through the green and made bogey, threatened to derail his round.
However, he banished any negative thoughts with a four at the par five 16th – his third consecutive birdie at the hole – and then produced a magnificent seven iron to within two feet of the pin for birdie at the par three 17th.
This gave Quiros a two-shot cushion going down the last and once he had found the fairway from the tee, he looked up at the leaderboard and knew the title was his.
“That’s the first time I really looked at the leaderboard, although I had a fair idea what everyone else was doing,” admitted the Spaniard. “The seven iron at 17 was a good shot and very important. I played well all three days and putted particularly well.”
Quiros’s European golfing odyssey started back in 1984 when, having won his card at that year’s Qualifying School, the members of his home club bought shares in him to allow him to play full-time on The European Tour circuit, where his best finish was tied second in 1994 Turespana Open de Tenerife.
Two years after going close in Tenerife, he made his winning breakthrough at the Memorial Olivier Barras tournament on the Challenge Tour and, a decade later, he is now a winner on the Seniors Tour.
Mason, by contrast, knows all about winning as a Senior having collected 11 titles in a little over three seasons. He is keen to keep his record of winning at least once every season and with that in mind he is happy to be rediscovering his form.
“I am still working on things. I have been swinging the club out of line but it seems to be coming together,” commented Mason after his best finish and fifth top ten of 2006.
Northern Ireland’s Jimmy Heggarty, who like Quiros is a former European Tour player in his ‘rookie’ season as a senior, closed with a 65 for a share of 11th place on seven under par – his best result of the season so far.