Saturday, January 24, 2009

Alvaro, the man with the golden driver, leads

Qatar Masters into final round with a 64

Big-hitting Spaniard Alvaro Quiros showed his license to thrill as he blazed a stunning bogey- free, eight-under-par 64 to head into the final round of the Commercialbank Qatar Masters Presented by Dolphin Energy with a one-stroke lead over South Africa's Louis Oosthuizen.
The 26 year old Portugal Masters champion – who admitted to watching James Bond thriller “The World Is Not Enough” before his round - leaped to the top of the leaderboard on 16-under 200 after following up his second-round 67, while halfway pace setter Oosthuizen carded a solid 69 to remain in the hunt for his maiden European Tour title.
Holland's Maarten Lafeber and 2006 Qatar champion Henrik Stenson sit tied for third at 12 under after both signed for a 66.
Inaugural tournament champion Andrew Coltart, who began the day three shots back of Oosthuizen in second, finished strongly with two birdies in three holes to creep up to 11 under after a third round 70.
"I'm very happy," said Quiros. "I worked hard last week and it looks like the scores are starting to come."
Quiros, who as the longest hitter on the European Tour can lay claim to being the man with the golden driver, lived up to his billing but his skill on the green proved the key to his third round success with two 20 foot birdie putts coupled with several calm close-range finishes.
The Spaniard did though ride his luck for the second day in a row as, after on Friday watching an attempted lay-up rebound off a rock and back onto the fairway, he avoided a penalty drop despite his wayward drive down the ninth fairway landing up a tree.
Senior referee Andy McFee was forced to hand Quiros the free drop and two club lengths' relief instead of the usual one shot penalty as the tree was staked.
He almost took full advantage of the break as he left a birdie putt on the edge of the hole despite hacking his second shot onto a cart path.
He added: “When I arrived over there, I saw that it was on the tree and I said ‘I can't believe, what bad luck’. But at the same time, I saw like a wood stick and thought it might be free relief; it’s possible and it's a little bit strange because it's a big tree.
“I like a lot these kind of films, especially James Bond films. This year I received a present from my parents and my girlfriend, and it was the package of Pierce Brosnan in the James Bond series. I have to be honest, I like the women, too.”
Oosthuizen said: “It was up and down, really. I hit it well the first four or five holes and then fell asleep on the fifth green when I made a four putt. But that didn't bother me too much, I knew it was just a mental error, lost my concentration.
“After that, it took me two or three holes to settle in again and I played nicely from there.”
Lafeber, who started his round with a brilliant five under 31 on the front nine, was delighted with his day’s work.
“It was very good I played very well,” he said.
“I think we did everything right and kept the ball nicely in play off the tee and hit some good iron shots, and putted well, especially on the front nine. The back nine, let a few chances go, especially on the last was annoying to miss a pretty easy putt. Obviously I did a lot of things right and I'm very happy.”
World No 2 Sergio Garcia, Lee Westwood and Australia's Aaron Baddeley all carded third round 67s to move up into a group at nine under.
After following up his opening five under par effort with a disappointing 73, World No 10 Westwood did not drop a shot as the form which saw him record 13 top 10 finishes last year returned to put him in contention to end his 14-month winless streak.
"It was quite good, I hit a lot good shots. It wasn't playing particularly easy - there were a few tricky holes," he said. "I did feel like I could have shot better, if I shot 64 that would have felt better.
"I've been playing solid lately and I've been giving myself a chance every week, so sooner or later I'm going to take one of these chances."
Garcia's effort came after back to back 70s from the Spaniard, but it could have been better for The Race to Dubai leader as he dropped a shot at the last after finding water.
"It's disappointing because I hit such a good tee shot at the last. I also hit a good second but the ball just went exactly the opposite way I wanted it to go, it's one of those things," he said.
"It would have been nice to make the putt to save par, but I have made a good move.
"I hit a lot of good putts, unfortunately there were one or two putts that should have gone in but didn't.
"I hope there is something there for me on Sunday. I definitely feel like I'm playing well enough to do it so I hope that I go out there and play like I did today and hole some putts."



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