Alvaro Quiros secured his first European Tour win since 2011 with a playoff victory over South Africa’s Zander Lombard in The Rocco Forte Open on Sicily.
Quiros began the final day five clear of the field and the last round looked like being a procession when the Spaniard extended his advantage by two through six holes.
But the back nine was a struggle for Quiros. Lombard birdied the 7th and 9th holes to reduce the deficit to four shots. Quiros dropped a shot at the 10th and then another at the 15th. On the 16th, the 34-year-old found his ball in an unplayable lie after his tee shot and had to take a penalty drop. The resulting double bogey meant he and Lombard were tied at the top of the board.
Both men bogeyed the 17th and then both had to make solid up-and-downs on the last for pars to deny Li Haotong a chance in the playoff. The Chinese player had closed with 66 to end the week on 13-under-par.
In the playoff, Quiros and Lombard parred the first hole and it looked like the same result on the second playoff hole. But Lombard missed a very short putt and the title went to Quiros.
“I’m very happy,” said the Spaniard. “Obviously it shouldn’t be like that at the end but it’s a victory and that’s the most important thing. It’s been a little bit of a mess. The game wasn’t too bad, just the last few holes I started to struggle with the left to right wind.”
3 Talking points from The Rocco Forte Open
1 – This victory is the first for Alvaro Quiros since the Dubai World Championship of 2011. After making swing changes in 2012, the Spaniard began to struggle. He lost his European Tour playing privileges and dropped as low as 703 on the Official World Golf Ranking. He is now back inside the top-250 and will have playing rights on the European Tour until the end of 2018.
2 – Lombard was also looking to regain his card but he came up agonisingly short, missing his par putt on the second playoff hole. This was his second runner’s-up finish on the European Tour, following the 2016 Joburg Open. The 22-year-old is up to 77th on the Race to Dubai and will hope to make enough points during the events he can play in through the rest of the season to earn back his playing rights.
3 – Li Haotong came up just one shot shy of making the playoff after an excellent closing round of 66. The highlight of his day came on the par-5 12th. He holed his second shot to record an albatross two. It was the second albatross on the European Tour this season – Prayad Marksaeng bagged one at the Hero Indian Open1
1 Alvaro Quiros (Esp) 63 64 70 73 270 €166,660
2 Zander Lombard (RSA) 62 68 72 68 270 €111,110
3 Li Haotong (Chn) 64 68 73 66 271 €62,600
4 Pep Angles (Esp) 69 66 68 69 272 €50,000
T5 Marcus Fraser (Aus) 66 66 74 67 273 €38,700
T5 Jason Scrivener (Aus) 68 67 71 67 273 €38,700
7 David Horsey (Eng) 64 66 74 70 274 €30,000
T8 Marcel Siem (Ger) 68 68 71 68 275 €22,466
T8 Mark Foster (Eng) 67 64 75 69 275 €22,466
T8 Julien Guerrier (Fra) 65 68 72 70 275 €22,466