If yesterday belonged to Alvaro Velasco, Sunday at the Omega Dubia Desert Classic unquestionably belonged to another Alvaro, this time Quiros (he of the long-hitting and pointy sideburns). His ludicrous rollercoaster of a final round proved just enough to see him clear of Dane Anders Hansen and South Africa’s James Kingston.
One shot off the lead at the start of play, Quiros began his march up the leaderboard with an eagle at the par-four second. Two more birdies in relatively quick succession saw him reach the eighth tee with a three-shot lead, every shot of which he’d immediately relinquish with a careless triple-bogey. Resolved, perhaps, not to repeat the mistakes of last week, the Spaniard bounced back with a birdie at the next and, most spectacularly of all, a hole-in-one at the par-three eleventh (Quiros’ phenomenal length makes such qualifications necessary). Momentum and the inscrutable logic of golfing destiny saw him coast home in level-par from that point on.
While Quiros was zig-zagging his way to a four-under 68, the star names in the field were once again flattering to deceive. Former World Number One Tiger Woods carded a lacklustre 75, which included four bogeys and a double on the home hole; Rory McIlroy, who (if media coverage is to be believed) spent the week telling anyone who’d listen how mature he felt he’d become, saw his chances evaporate with a run of three consecutive bogeys in the middle of the back nine; and Sergio Garcia, playing in the company of his old nemesis Woods, slumped to a second consecutive 75.
While the combination of gusting wind, hard putting surfaces and occasionally penal rough did much to ensure that the pre-tournament prediction of the Emirates’ head greenkeeper came to fruition, one couldn’t help but notice the comparative ease with which the most unheralded of the overnight contenders navigated the Majilis Course. Early in the season it may be, but seeing so many top names struggle to realise anything approaching their most devastating form was nothing short of disappointing.