Quiros ends title drought despite blowing seven-shot lead


Alvaro Quiros claimed a long-awaited victory at the Rocco Forte Open to regain his European Tour card, but was forced to come through a play-off with Zander Lombard after a dramatic back-nine collapse.

Quiros, who came into this week ranked 703rd in the world having previously been as high as 21st, led by five strokes overnight in Sicily and stretched that advantage to seven with four birdies in his first six holes on Sunday.

However, with a first European Tour win since 2011 there for the taking, Quiros dramatically lost his way, dropping shots at the eighth, 10th and 15th before a double-bogey on 16 left him tied with Lombard at 15 under.

When the leaders each bogeyed the penultimate hole, they were only one clear of Pep Angles and Li Haotong, the latter having benefited from an albatross at the 12th as he surged into contention with a 66.

Quiros and Lombard found pars at 18 to remain in front and set up a play-off, with the Spaniard eventually able to celebrate as his rival three-putted for bogey at the second extra hole.

"I'm very happy," Quiros was quoted as saying by the European Tour's official website. "Obviously it shouldn't be like that but at the end it's a victory and that's the most important thing.

"It's been a little bit of a mess.The game wasn't that bad. Just the last few holes I started to struggle with the wind left to right and he [Lombard] was playing nice, Pep was playing nice too.

"I didn't have an idea how many shots I was leading by, what I knew on 18 is I have to make a putt to halve with Zander.

"It's a victory, it means a lot of things. Unfortunately I didn't really like how I ended the round. It should never have been like that."

Li finished sole third on 13 under, due to Angles bogeying the last for a two-under 69.