Date: January 26, 2009

Quiros wins in Qatar

Alvaro Quiros has promised to keep his feet firmly on the ground after Sunday&aposs Qatar Masters victory propelled the talented Spaniard firmly onto the world stage. The 26-year-old held his nerve over the final round to seal a comfortable three-stroke victory over former champion Henrik Stenson and South African Louis Oosthuizen with a final-round, three-under-par 69. Aaron Baddelley was the best placed Australian in a tie for 12th position at 10-under, with Brett Rumford a further stroke behind. Two-time defending champion Adam Scott roared up the leaderboard into a tie for 21st with an encouraging five-under-par final round, while Rod Pampling finished in a tie for 31st at six-under. Quiros&apos triumph, only three months after his win at the Portugal Masters, is set to propel the big-hiter into the world&aposs top 30 and all-but ensure a first major appearance at The Masters, and also open the door for the forthcoming World Golf Championship events. But after the avid James Bond fan, who watched Tomorrow Never Dies before the final round, likened his fourth-round exploits to Daniel Craig&aposs gambling-based thriller Casino Royale, he played down talk of more success on the big stage. “It wasn&apost a perfect day at the beginning but I made the score and I won,” said Quiros, who lives three miles from Valderrama. “The birdie on nine was huge, I had been trying but the ball wouldn&apost go in. The tee shots and second shots weren&apost very good either. But after that putt I believed a bit more and I had more focus.” “My aim over these three weeks was to get into the top 50 in the world. After Abu Dhabi my game was good but the scores weren&apost coming and I had more doubts but I just waited and kept going and I am close to playing in the majors.” “The most important thing is that I have qualified for the Match Play, this is the first world event I am going to play and is going to be very important for me.” “There is no chance of me playing at the Ryder Cup, it is a long way off. It is easy to look at things like this after you have won but there are going to be tough times ahead and this is the most important thing, how you react to these tough times.” After blazing a stunning, bogey-free 65 on Saturday to take the overnight lead, Quiros reached the turn one-over-par and was soon in a three-way tie as Stenson drained an eagle putt at the 10th. But on the back nine the putting, which was a highlight of his third round, returned and, despite finding water at the 15th to give Stenson a glimmer of hope, back-to-back birdies handed him a two-stroke lead heading up the last. A three-putt at the final green from Stenson extended the victory margin as the Dubai-based Swede carded a 68, which also allowed Oosthuizen to record a second runner-up appearance in a week as a birdie at the last secured a 71. “It is a surprise to me, to win a tournament is not something you do everyday. For players like Sergio Garcia and Stenson it is easy but for me it is a very special thing,” added Quiros, who rises to fourth place on the Race to Dubai. “I am going to fly to The Masters, if I get in, to enjoy the situation. I grew up watching The Masters on TV, for me it is going to be a very special thing along with all the majors. I am just going to try and enjoy it, the scores will be important, but not the most important thing.” Stenson&aposs second place ensured the 2006 champion has finished inside the top seven at Doha Golf Club for the last five years and also saw the consistent Swede record a 14th top-10 finish in 35 outings since his last European Tour success at the 2007 WCG – Accenture Match Play. “It doesn&apost feel good, a three-putt at the last, but still I had to give it a go as that was my last chance to force a play-off to make birdie at the last. But I&aposm still happy with the performance,” said Stenson, who missed the cut in Abu Dhabi last week. “It was a good day. Alvaro kicked in some birdies but I also had chances. But it&aposs nice to get a good week in early again and come bouncing back after missing the cut last week.” Oosthuizen held the halfway lead after a second-round 65, but again missed out on a maiden European Tour title. “I&aposm disappointed with the way I played today, but I think the birdie at the last got me a bit more positive,” he said. “It&aposs a learning curve so hopefully next week will be better.” “I&aposve been playing well, I think today&aposs round was the only one in the 70s from my last eight rounds. But hat&aposs off to Alvaro, he made some great putts. That&aposs great stuff for him and he&aposs a good player so well done to him.”