Spain’s Alvaro Quiros rode a roller-coaster of a round to win the Dubai Desert Classic yesterday.
The 28-year-old from Cadiz clinched the biggest win of his career after an eagle-two at the second, a triple-bogey seven at the eighth, and, above all else, a hole-in-one at the 11th.
He came in with a four-under 68 and an 11-under total of 277 which gave him a one-stroke win over Denmark’s Anders Hansen (70) and James Kingston of South Africa (67).
The win followed his second place finish behind Thomas Bjorn in Qatar last week and hoists Quiros into the lead in the European Tour’s Race to Dubai. He will also move up to 21st in the world rankings, the highest of his career.
Quiros started the day alongside Tiger Woods and Sergio Garcia in a seven-way tie for fourth place, one stroke behind joint leaders Rory McIlroy, Thomas Aiken and Hansen, but on the back of the eagle at the second, he grabbed the lead and was three strokes clear of the field after five holes.
However, disaster struck at the eighth.
He hit a wild drive and had to take a drop in sand, which, unfortunately for him, plugged. His next shot ended stuck up a palm tree and he eventually staggered off with a triple-bogey seven. The lead had vanished.
About 20 golfers were in with a shout at that stage, but the risk-taking Quiros made the break with a magnificent hole-in-one at the 11th, where he hit a wedge from 161 yards.
Quiet-man Hansen drew level after grabbing an eagle at the 12th and when Quiros dropped a shot at the 14th, the Dane was briefly ahead, but a birdie for Quiros at the 16th and a bogey for Hansen, playing on the hole behind him, switched their positions and there it remained as both parred their way home.
A subdued Woods never really got going as he sought his first win in 15 months.
Bogeys at two and three gave him a dismal start and although birdies at the sixth and 11th offered a glimmer of hope, he dropped shots at the 12th and 14th to end his challenge with a disappointing 75.
McIlroy also gave himself too much to do with bogeys at one and four.