May 22, 2017: Alvaro Quiros marked a dramatic return to the European Tour winners’ circle at the Rocco Forte Open – Verdura, Sicily as the Spaniard defeated South Africa’s Zander Lombard on the second play-off hole to claim a seventh title, his first in over six years.
The 34 year old, who prior to this week had only made five cuts in his last 20 stars, defied the form book at Verdura Golf Club as he came flying out of the blocks with four birdies in the first six holes – draining monster birdie putts at the fifth and sixth.
It appeared to be written in the stars for the resurgent Quiros as he opened up a seven-stroke lead at one point, but it all came undone thereafter as four bogeys and a double-bogey opened the door for potential contenders.
The promising 22 year old Lombard was in the ascendancy after opening with back to back birdies and his three under final round 68 piled the pressure on playing partner Quiros, who was forced to hole a ten-footer on the last to take it to extra holes – signing for a two over 73 and joining Lombard on a 14 under total.
The Dubai-based Cadiz native made his experience count though, and after they halved the first play-off hole in pars, a smart two-putt for par was enough to seal the victory for Quiros on the second time of asking – Lombard missing a three-footer to end his hopes of a maiden win.
A consolation for the Pretorian came in the shape of qualification for next week’s BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth Club, while Li Haotong of China finished in outright third place after holing an albatross at the par five 12th en route to a five under final round 66 and a 13 under total.