Quiros starting to make a name for himself

By Associated PressMarch 18, 2009, 4:00 pm
PALM HARBOR, Fla. ' A waist-high net stretches across the back of the driving range at Innisbrook, some 300 yards away, mainly to keep golf balls of some of the biggest hitters from disappearing into a lake that most people dont even know is there.
 
Will MacKenzie was asked how far it was to the water.
 
I dont know, he said Wednesday. But some dude with a straw hat was just out here flying it over the water.
 
Over the water or over the net?
 
Over the water, he said, enunciating each word. It was sick. I said to myself, Think Ill just work on the ol wedge game today. If he has a short game, were all in trouble. Because it was pure.
 
The dude in the straw hat is Alvaro Quiros.
 
He was on his way to the beach in Spain when he and his girlfriend stopped in a market. She tried on a straw Panama hat, playfully put it on his head, and Quiros liked the hat so much he has been wearing one ever since. It has become his trademark ' that and his prodigious tee shots, skinny sideburns and a contagious smile.
 
The flamboyant Spaniard is wrapping up his first tour of America at the Transitions Championship, where he is making a name for himself.
 
After a first-round loss in the Accenture Match Play Championship, the 26-year-old Quiros was a fixture on the leaderboard during the CA Championship until he struggled on the back nine with his putting and tied for 13th.
 
Most of the European Tour members took a week off before returning for Bay Hill or the Shell Houston Open as a tune up for the Masters. Quiros is the only one who stayed behind to play at Innisbrook.
 
Rookie mistake, Quiros said.
 
He was not aware that top 50 in the world ranking ' Quiros is No. 25 ' made him exempt for the Arnold Palmer Invitational. He took an exemption to the Transitions Championship, instead, with no regrets. He loves the looks of the Copperhead Course, among the best in Florida.
 
As for those monster tee shots on the range?
 
I was just trying to hit it straight, he said.
 
For those unfamiliar with Quiros ' or wondering how he got to No. 25 in the world ' he qualified for World Golf Championships at Dove Mountain and at Doral by winning the Portugal Masters last fall and picking up his third career victory in January at the Qatar Masters, the strongest field on the European Tour this year.
 
It wasnt his first time to a World Golf Championship.
 
When he was 16 and just starting to believe he might have a future in golf, Quiros won a junior tournament at La Canada, the public course along the Costa del Sol where he grew up, and first prize was a ticket to the first WGC event held at nearby Valderrama.
 
That was the year Tiger Woods made a triple bogey on the notorious 17th hole, was fortunate to get into a playoff, then defeated Miguel Angel Jimenez on the first extra hole as the Spanish Civil Guard stretched across the fairway to keep peace.
 
If I had to be completely honest, Quiros said with a smile, I was pulling for Jimenez.
 
No apologies necessary. The Spanish root for their own.
 
Quiros wanted to come to America much sooner, with dreams of a college scholarship. But no one offered a full ride, and the son of a gardener in Guadiaro could not afford to pay tuition. He remained an amateur and helped Spain to a runner-up finish in 2004 at the World Amateur Team Championship in Puerto Rico, and then turned pro.
 
The only setback was damaged ligaments in his left wrist. Quiros regained his form over the last year, however, and picked up a valuable asset when Irish caddie Dave McNeilly agreed to work for him, turning down an offer from two-time U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen.
 
Maybe he is looking for a little excitement, Quiros said. And it is definitely exciting with me because he sometimes visits all the bushes on the golf course and sees part of the golf course he never would with Retief Goosen.
 
Quiros can be wild, but his swing is explosive.
 
And in the short time he has been in a PGA Tour environment, stories already are spreading.
 
I heard last week on the second hole, he hit it 30 yards over the green on the par 4. He was chipping back to the flag, Kenny Perry said. I drove it in the greenside bunker, but I cant imagine hitting that far. Everybody in the locker room thats the buzz. When you hear the guys talking about it in the locker room, somethings up.
 
Quiros is not sure what to expect this week on a tight course at Innisbrook.
 
If I hit it straight, this will be fun, he said, pausing to smile. If I hit it straight.
 
Sean OHair is the defending champion, winning last year at 4-under 280. The field includes Adam Scott, Jim Furyk and dozens of Japanese photographers who are at Innisbrook to chronicle 17-year-old Ryo Ishikawa, playing his second PGA Tour event.
 
Quiros also is looking ahead to his first trip to Augusta National, a course he has never seen ' not even on television. He only knows the 15th, 16th and 18th holes from a DVD he watched of Seve Ballesteros.
 
His family never had the money to buy the TV feed to watch the Masters. That changed when he turned pro, and he could afford a satellite dish so his father could watch him in Europe.
 
So far, Quiros is putting on quite a show.
 

Related Links:
  • Full Coverage of the Transitions Championship
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    Watch: Fathauer dunks one off flagstick for eagle

    By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 17, 2018, 7:45 pm

    The NBA All-Star Slam Dunk Contest will take place Saturday night in Los Angeles, but Derek Fathauer kicked things off a little early with this eagle in the third round of the Genesis Open.

    Playing his second shot on the par-4 third hole at Riviera Country Club, Fathauer dunked one off the flagstick and into the hole for an eagle-2:

    The shot got the the 32-year-old, in search of his first PGA Tour victory, under par for the round and into the mix early on Moving Day.

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    Luiten in three-way tie at Oman Open

    By Associated PressFebruary 17, 2018, 4:17 pm

    MUSCAT, Oman - Joost Luiten showed a return to form after a mediocre 2017 as he moved into a three-way tie for the lead in the Oman Open on Saturday.

    The Dutchman shot a second straight 6-under 66 - the joint best score of the day - to move to 12-under 204. He was joined at the top by Matthew Southgate (69) and Frenchman Julien Guerrier (66) after the third round at the Greg Norman-designed Al Mouj Golf Club.

    England's Chris Wood (69), another man on the comeback trail, was in fourth place at 11 under, but it could have been a lot better if not for a bogey-bogey finish. Adrian Otaegui (66) was a shot behind Wood while pre-tournament favorite, France's Alexander Levy (67), was at 9 under.

    The 90th-ranked Luiten credited some hot iron play for his success after a cracked driver set him back last year when he had just two top-10 finishes the whole season.


    Full-field scores from the NBO Oman Golf Classic


    ''I cracked my driver in my first tournament of the year in Abu Dhabi and it took me almost six months to get another one that I really liked. Once you are not driving the ball well, it puts pressure on other parts of your game,'' said the 32-year-old Luiten. ''My iron play did not get me into trouble at all today.''

    Southgate was quick off the block with three birdies in his first three holes. But the Englishman then made two bogeys and a double bogey in his next four holes, and a birdie on the ninth saw him make the turn at even-par.

    That forced him to think differently for the back nine and he was rewarded with three birdies.

    ''It was quite funny really,'' Southgate said. ''We birdied the ninth and I walked off and said to my caddie Gary ... 'We've just shot level par, so let's just pretend that we've made nine solid pars and that we haven't holed a putt and haven't made a birdie. Let's just start again on the 10th'.''

    The 32-year-old Guerrier started his round with a monster 48-foot birdie putt and had an eagle, six birdies and two bogeys.

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    J.Y. Ko increases lead; Lydia focuses on positives

    By Associated PressFebruary 17, 2018, 3:33 pm

    ADELAIDE, Australia - Jin Young Ko continued her domination of the Women's Australian Open, shooting a 1-under 71 Saturday to increase her lead to four strokes after three rounds.

    The South Korean, who led after each of the opening two rounds of the LPGA tournament, had a three-round total of 11-under 205 at Kooyonga Golf Club.

    Australian golfer Hannah Green moved into second place after the round of the day, a 66.

    Green, 21, is seeking to become the first Australian to claim her national crown since Karrie Webb won the last of her five titles in 2014. Webb, who is playing a part-time schedule in 2018, missed the cut Friday by one stroke.

    Green birdied her first three holes on Saturday and then added two more on the eighth and ninth. Two more birdies followed on the back nine with her only dropped shot a bogey on the 17th.


    Full-field scores from the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open


    "I was very pleased with my ball striking," Green said. "I have put myself in contention so I'm very happy with how things are panning out.

    "It was a real shame about Karrie missing the cut, but I know she has got different plans."

    South Korea's Hyejin Choi (70), was tied for third, five strokes behind. Australia's top-ranked golfer Minjee Lee was tied for fifth after a 69, six off the lead.

    Former No. 1 Lydia Ko shot a 71 and was eight strokes behind.

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    Cantlay, McDowell, Saunders share lead at Riviera

    By Doug FergusonFebruary 17, 2018, 3:51 am

    LOS ANGELES - Tiger Woods waited 12 years to get back to Riviera and lasted only two days.

    Woods had three straight bogeys early on the back nine Friday and didn't play well enough to make up for his misses. He had a 5-over 76 and missed the cut in the Genesis Open for the first time in nine appearances as a pro.

    He was at 6-over 148, one shot worse than his PGA Tour debut as a 16-year-old at Riviera.

    ''I missed every tee shot left and I did not putt well, didn't feel very good on the greens,'' Woods said. ''And consequently, never made a run. I knew I had to make a run on that back nine, and I went the other way.''

    Patrick Cantlay ran off three straight birdies toward the end of his morning round, starting with a tap-in on the par-3 sixth when he missed a hole-in-one by a fraction of an inch, and shot a 69. He was tied with Graeme McDowell (66), the former U.S. Open champion who is trying to work his way back from a two-year slump.

    They were at 7-under 135.

    Sam Saunders also was at 7 under, making back-to-back birdies until it was too dark to continue. He had three holes remaining in his second round. Ryan Moore bogeyed his final hole for a 68 and was one shot behind at 136.

    Rory McIlroy overcame a few short misses on the front nine for a 69 and was at 2-under 140.


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    Cantlay was coming off a three-putt bogey when his tee shot at the par-3 sixth - the hole with a bunker in the middle of the green - landed above the flag and to the right, and then rolled back down the slope just over the right edge of the cup.

    ''I actually missed a little to the right, but it's a bowl back there so as long as you get the number right, it should be pretty close,'' Cantlay said.

    He followed with a short iron into 5 feet for birdie, a 15-foot birdie on the next hole and then a wild drive that led to a bogey on his final hole.

    McDowell has gone 59 starts worldwide since his last victory and has fallen out of the top 200 in the world. He had missed four straight cuts dating to late last year, though he felt he was hitting it well in practice. What helped was seeing some good scores.

    ''All I'm missing is a couple little numbers and a little bit of confidence,'' McDowell said.

    Defending champion Dustin Johnson shot a 69 and gets to stick around for the weekend. He was at 1-over 143. Bubba Watson, who won in 2014 and 2016, has fallen out of the top 200 in the world after a two-year drought. He shot a 70 and was at 4-under 138, and then headed for the NBA All-Star weekend to play in the celebrity game.