Alvaro Quiros arrived at the final hole of the Dubai World Championship– a sinuous, uphill par-5– with a one-shot advantage over Paul Lawrie and two over World Number One Luke Donald.
After threading a three-wood between a brace of hazards to find the narrowest part of the final fairway, the Spaniard could only look on as Donald (66), playing in the group ahead, converted an imperious approach to finish with his third consecutive birdie and draw within a shot of the lead.
Lawrie, who in shying away from the stream abutting the right edge of the fairway had pulled his tee shot into heavy rough, laid up, and in doing so placed the fate of the tournament firmly in the hands of its immensely talented, if erratic leader.
Quiros, however, rose to the occasion, hoisting a 270-yard three-wood onto the front half of the green from a severly downhill lie.
If it was a strike that suggested his jocular public persona might rest on a foundation of altogether sterner, more ruthless stuff, what followed put it beyond doubt.
Faced with a winding, forty-foot putt across a hog’s back bisecting the green, the Spaniard dispatched a putt that, for all of its four-second passage, never looked anywhere other than the centre of the cup.
Enough for a final round 67, that closing eagle– Quiros’s second of the week– vaulted the Spaniard to 19-under-par and ensured he would leave Dubai a tournament champion for the second time in eleven months.
That Lawrie (67) closed with a birdie to edge clear of Donald in second place can be considered of marginal importance in the context of the grander narrative, but it meant all of €120,000 to the Scot, for whom lucrative paydays have been few and far between in recent years.
Peter Hanson recovered from an unfortunate conclusion to his third round to shoot 67 and take sole possession of fourth place, while Masters champion Charl Schwartzel recorded the same score to take the final of the first five placings.
Sergio Garcia (71), Rory McIlroy (71), Martin Kaymer (71), Robert Karlsson (66) and Graeme McDowell (66) all finished in a tie for 11th place on nine-under-par.
The result, of course, put Luke Donald’s status as the first player to top the orders of merit on both sides of the Atlantic beyond doubt.