Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Spanish Joy in Portugal

"He's not small, he's just far away..." 6'5" Robert Karlsson smacks the big dog in Portugal

I'm playing catch-up after a busy week where the ol' blog bout put on the back burner, hopefully normal service will resume as the Order of Merit gets sorted out. The Portugal Masters was taken this weekend by Alvaro Quiros. It's his second win on the European Tour and was done in crushingly efficient style - 66, 68, 67 and a 68, great scoring, great consistency and a great win by three shots. He was caught briefly by Ross Fisher but pulled away again down the straight to clinch another title to add to his resume ; the South African Dunhill Championship was his maiden win last year. It gave Quiros an incredible boost in the world rankings, shooting him up 202 places in all to 94th in the world. With scoring like that it's richly deserved. And having had a decent time of it in recent weeks, without much to show, he deserved a win.

The man who got closest to him was the last European to win a major before Padraig Harrington turned all Tigerish and started collecting them ten-a-penny, the conqueror of Carnoustie, Paul Lawrie. It gave him just the 111 place boost to 158th in the world, small beans compared to Quiroz but greatly needed.

The big story was the big man vying to capture the final official Order of Merit, Robert Karlsson who's quite big. A final round 71 was good enough to see him take third place and Open up a €297,424 lead over Padraig Harrington in on Europe's money list with only the Volvo Masters at Valderrama to play, which has a first prize €708,330. All these years the European Tour have been missing a trick when they could have been having "The Race to Valderrama", how much better would that have been...

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