Manuel Quirós had it all planned this morning when he placed his ball on the first tee at Finca Cortesín. “This is a major course, a Tour venue, pretty serious, so we’re going to focus on playing under par. If we beat Cortesín today, we’ll have done much of the hard work.” Quirós began the final round with a two-stroke advantage over Daniel Osorio after a master class of golf on Tuesday at The San Roque Club. He carded a 67 there, even after leaving a few shots out on the course. It was one of those golfing days when you put the clubs back into the car with a satisfied smile running from ear to ear. Now the task at hand was clear: if Quirós played below par Osorio would have to card a 69 – not that simple at Cortesín.
His plan was carried out to perfection. The Benahavís golfer carded a 71 and won with a total of 210 over the three days, two fewer than Osorio and four ahead of Patrick Kopp and Andreas Andersson – the latter carding a stunning round of the day of 64 at Cortesín.
Just because his plan worked out in the end doesn’t mean it was easy. On the contrary. Quirós began the final round with two bogeys on the second and third holes, the second mishap caused by an annoying three-putt. On the fourth tee he had lost his whole opening advantage. He swallowed hard and remembered the plan: beat the course. He began to fight back, hitting good shots, and the birdies came. “It was a close tussle,” he said later.
“Anyone could have won. Both Dani and Patrick played well and it wasn’t decided until the final hole. The last two holes were decisive, and the tournament concluded with the quality and excitement of a European Tour event. The duel between Quirós and Osorio was spectacular. They reached the tough par-3 seventh with Quirós ahead by one. He hit first and left his ball two metres from the pin. Sensational. But Osorio still had something to say. His reply was fantastic. To three metres. He putted first and made birdie. All the pressure was on the leader, but he also secured his birdie. Breathtaking.
That still left the 18th, a rising par-5 where anything can happen. Quirós attacked, and his boldness was rewarded. He went for the green in two with a 3-wood, ended up in the bunker and escaped brilliantly for a tap-in. Birdie and tournament in the bag. A just reward for hard work and plenty of fine golf. “I came here playing well,” he said. “I think I’ve always finished among the top eight on The Gecko Tour this season, but it’s becoming harder to win out here. There’s a very high level of play, so I couldn’t be happier with the victory – and for where I achieved it. Without wanting to detract from other courses – which have been presented in very good condition this year – to win at Finca Cortesín and San Roque Club leaves a great taste in the mouth, as they are both Tour venues.”
Apart from Quiros’s excellent victory, other highlights included the 64 carded by Sweden’s Andersson, who bludgeoned the par-5s with an awesome partial of six-under, and an extraordinary finish by Nuria Iturrios. The Spanish national women’s champion from Mallorca ended up fifth after carding the second best round of the day (68). Yet another demonstration of the enormous talent of The Gecko Tour’s female contingent. The past two weeks it was Noemí Jiménez in the spotlight with consecutive top-five finishes – and now it was the turn of Iturrios.
The next event on The Gecko Tour will start this Saturday. From 5 to 7 December the seventh event of the season will be held at the Alcaidesa course in Cádiz province.