Quiroz Hunts Down Leaders For First Tour Win

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Canadian Tour-LargeWINNIPEG, MB -- Alex Quiroz of Mexico came from behind Sunday to win the Canadian Tours MTS Classic.
 
The 28-year-old fired a final round 5-under 66 for a 72-hole total of 12-under 272 and a one-shot triumph over Americans Aaron Barber and Andy Johnson. Bobby Kalinowski and Steve Scott wound up two shots back, while Bryn Parry finished at 9-under 275 with David Mathis.
 
It was Quirozs first win on the Canadian Tour, and the second time a Mexican has won a Canadian event this season. Pablo del Olmo captured the Michelin Ixtapa Classic back in April.
 
Beginning the day five shots behind leader Ben Pettitt, Quiroz began to chip away at the deficit, and pulled even with Aaron Barber with a 30-foot eagle putt on the 12th followed by a birdie on the next hole. Barber bogeyed the 16th to fall one back, and almost forced a playoff when his chip from off the green on 18 rolled just by the pin.
 
'I knew I started behind today, I just wanted to stay patient and stick to my plan,' said Quiroz, who teamed with Octavio Gonzalez to represent Mexico at the 2001 EMC World Cup. 'Once I got in the clubhouse, it was out of my hands. I did what I had to do on the course.'
 
Playing three groups in front of Barber and Ben Pettitt, Quiroz originally waited in the clubhouse but moved outside behind the 18th green as Barber came up the fairway.
 
'At first I was so nervous, but then I just had to get out there. Of course you never want anyone to play bad, and Aaron has been on a real roll lately. But sometimes you wonder if you are ever going to win out here, and I just had to see it for myself.'
 
Quiroz had originally planned to skip the Winnipeg stop, believing he would benefit more from a week-long rest back in Mexico. Late last week, he decided to make the trip to Manitoba for the Tours 14th official event of the year.
 
'I was really exhausted and I though I needed a rest,' he admitted. 'But then I changed my mind at the last minute.'
 
With a laugh, he added 'It looks like I made the right decision.'
 
Barber was teamed with Pettitt, the 54-hole leader, and shot a 1-under 70 for his fifth consecutive top-10 finish. The defending Order of Merit champion was looking for his third Canadian Tour triumph in the last two years.
 
'I thought I did all right, especially since I didnt have the lead going into the final round,' he said. 'I had a tough time out there today, it was just a grinding kind of day. You have to play better on Sunday. But I give all the credit in the world to Alex shooting 5-under today, with that wind, was like shooting 8-under Saturday.'
 
Parry, who finished second in the 1994 B.C. Amateur Championship, was more than pleased with his top-Canadian showing.
 
'Im feeling very comfortable with everything about my game right now,' said Parry. 'Last week, when Matt (fellow B.C. native Daniel) won in Edmonton, I asked myself on the way home, am I ready to win out here? Now I know the answer is yes.'
 
The Canadian Tour will now take a two-week break before closing out the season with the TELUS Quebec Open and the Greater Toronto Open.