Quiros stays steady to seal victory in Portugal

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The Independent Online

The Spaniard Alvaro Quiros proved there is more to his game than booming drives as he produced a three-shot victory at the Portuguese Masters yesterday.

The 25-year-old from Cadiz showed he has strength of character to go with his power as he held off a determined challenge from European Money List leader Robert Karlsson and England's Ross Fisher.

He clinched the £395,000 first prize – the biggest of his career – in some style, calmly sinking a five-foot birdie putt on the 18th green at the Victoria Club here to complete a final-round four-under-par 68 for a 19-under total.

Karlsson, who had been hot favourite to win his third successive Tour victory after victories in the German Masters and the Dunhill Links Championship, eventually had to settle for a share of third after a series of mistakes.

The Swede now only leads Padraig Harrington by £231,000 in the European money list heading for the Volvo Masters, when victory here for Karlsson would have almost certainly settled the Order of Merit title.

The runners-up spot went to Scotland's Paul Lawrie, who produced his best tournament finish for three years. The 1999 Open champion had previously only managed one top-10 finish this year but after signing for a final-round 67, he sounded very relieved. Lawrie said: "It feels great to be competitive again."

But at the end of a week when all Spanish golfing attention has been devoted to the failing health of Seve Ballesteros, the emergence of another exciting young star from that country will be welcomed.

Quiros sign-posted his ability with his victory in the Dunhill Championship in South Africa last year but that field could not compare to the one here, which contained six members of the recent European Ryder Cup team.

It is not only his length that will attract golf fans across Europe but his engaging sense of humour, which was evident from the first tee when he starting cracking jokes with his two playing partners.

He had to get up early to complete his third round to move one shot ahead of the field, but the lead changed hands regularly during the final round

For Quiros there is now a place in the Tournament of Champions in Shanghai, and throughout his round Ballesteros was never far from his thoughts.

"My caddy told me that Seve always wanted to beat everybody and today I drew inspiration from thinking about the way he played his golf," he said.

The lowest score of the final day, 65, belonged to Bristol's Chris Wood, who as an amateur finished tied for fifth place to take the Silver Medal in this year's Open at Royal Birkdale.