Alvaro Quiros salvages Sicily Open win after late meltdown

Spaniard beats Zander Lombard in a play-off after squandering a seven-shot lead

 

Spain’s Alvaro Quiros recovered from squandering a seven-shot lead with 12 holes to play to beat South Africa’s Zander Lombard in a play-off in the Rocco Forte Open.

Quiros secured his seventh European Tour title, but a first since 2011, with a par on the second extra hole at Verdura Golf Club after Lombard three-putted from 40 feet.

The pair had finished tied on 14 under par, one shot ahead of China’s Li Haotong, who had an albatross in a closing 66 but had to be persuaded to get off a bus heading to the airport as the final group stumbled over the closing stretch.

Spain’s Pep Angles was a shot further back after a bogey on the last, with Australians Marcus Fraser and Jason Scrivener sharing fifth.

Meanwhile Michael Hoey, who earlier in the week had flirted with a 59, signed off with a 72 to finish in a share of eighth place on eight under par.

Gary Hurley was two strokes behind him after a final round 73.

“It’s a strange feeling because obviously I’m very happy,” the victorious Quiros told Sky Sports.

“It’s a victory and means a lot of things, but unfortunately I didn’t really like how I finished the round. But I could be speaking about second position so I’m happy.

“At the end the result is the 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 into the wind.”

Quiros began the day with a five-shot lead and responded to Lombard’s birdies at the first two holes with four of his own at the second, fourth, fifth and sixth to extend his advantage to seven.

However, having dropped just four shots in the first 61 holes, Quiros clearly began to feel the pressure as he bogeyed the eighth, 10th and 15th, before a double bogey on the 16th allowed Lombard to draw level.

Both men then bogeyed the 17th as Angles chipped in for a birdie to close within a shot, which finally persuaded Li to take his clubs off the 3pm bus which was about to leave for the airport.

That proved to be unnecessary as Lombard chipped to within inches of the hole to save par on the last, and then saw Quiros hole from 10 feet after splashing out of a greenside bunker.

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