European Tour

Quirós targeting more Sicilian glory

2018-05-09 18:22
Álvaro Quirós
Álvaro Quirós (Getty Images)

Cape Town - Álvaro Quirós returns to the scene of arguably his greatest triumph when he tees it up as defending champion at this week's Sicilian Open.

The Spaniard was one of the European Tour's leading lights in the late 2000s, winning six events in five seasons from 2007, culminating in the season-ending Dubai World Championship in 2011.

There then followed six years without victory for Quirós before he arrived at Verdura Golf Club last season 703rd on the Official World Golf Ranking and without his playing privileges on the European Tour.

"Well obviously it was a very important moment in my career without having the European Tour card in my pocket, recovering it after my victory here was a very great achievement," said Quiros.

"It is a lovely place, I mean it’s a paradise in the middle of Sicily, it's a lovely place, we have lovely restaurants, the golf course is a very nice one too, this year especially it's in great shape. The weather, as you can see, is sunny with a little bit of breeze - no complaints."

The 35-year-old overcame a tense play-off with South African Zander Lombard to lift the trophy in the Sicilian sunshine, and he is hoping for a repeat of that success this week after a second-placed finish at the Trophée Hassan II last month represented a return to form.

"I was happy after the victory, but I have to recognise that I have a kind of bitter flavour because the last few holes were not that good but a victory is a victory," said Quiros.

"Last year I was playing very nicely from tee to green and my putting was unbelievable. At the same time, when you putt well, every single bad shot is less bad, and the good ones help you recover, so that's why I was able to play so well last year.

"I have to say that I'm very happy with my game right now, even though I have to work a lot on my mental game because I have still having some issues in certain situations, but I'm happy. I'm hitting the ball good enough. I'm not going to say I’m hitting it my greatest, but it's good enough. The putting is OK too, so there's no reason to think of not performing properly here."

Thorbjørn Olesen joins Quirós in the field having claimed his first European Tour win at Verdura Golf Club six years ago and he still believes he has the perfect game to triumph in Sicily.

The Dane has since added to that tally of wins and a victory this week would take his total to five as he looks to impress countryman and Ryder Cup Captain Thomas Bjørn ahead of the biennial spectacular at Le Golf National.

The layout at Verdura is similar to the one Olesen grew up playing in Denmark and with windy conditions almost guaranteed, he is looking forward to a challenge with which he feels comfortable.

England's Eddie Pepperell claimed his maiden victory earlier this season at the Qatar Masters in February but has played just two stroke play events since.

The 27-year-old admits that was not an ideal situation but after enjoying his experience at last week's GolfSixes, he believes his game is trending in the right direction ahead of the busy summer schedule.

Read more on:    european tour  |  golf
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