Bjorn wins Qatar Masters by four shots

Doha: Denmark’s Thomas Bjorn reaped the reward for three rounds of consistent golf when he won the 2.5-million-dollar Qatar Masters by four shots from Spain’s Alvaro Quiros at Doha Golf Club on Sunday.

Bjorn posted a 69 in the final round for a total of 14-under-par 274.

It was his second win in the Middle Eastern desert, after his sensational victory over Tiger Woods at the Dubai Desert Classic in 2001.

Quiros, who won in Qatar in 2009, suffered the heartbreak of finishing as the runner-up in Qatar for the second straight time, having finished second to Sweden’s Robert Karlsson last year.

Bjorn, who was ahead of Austrian Markus Brier by one shot at the end of round three and five in front of Quiros, recorded 14 straight pars on Sunday before registering his first birdie on the 15th hole.

Quiros produced four birdies to overhaul Brier but a bogey on the 17th effectively ended his chances, with Bjorn taking birdies on 16 and 18.

Brier and Rafael Cabrera-Bello of Spain were tied for third a further shot behind.

Bjorn went nearly four years without a title following his victory in the 2006 Irish Open, but last year revived his fortunes by claiming the Portuguese Open.

He was subsequently named as one of Colin Montgomerie’s vice-captains for the Ryder Cup.

After Sunday’s Qatar Masters triumph, the 40-year-old admitted Quiros had put him under serious pressure.

“Alvaro put in a stint there where he threw a few birdies in and it became a little bit tense,” Bjorn said.

“But after I hit that shot on 15 and saw him miss that putt for par, it’s going to be difficult for him to catch me out if I don’t make any mistakes.

“In the end it became a bit of a cruise, but I’m delighted with the week.

“I played solid golf -- I think I made one bogey in the last 54 holes. On this golf course and in these conditions, that’s good going.”

Bjorn had said on Saturday that the key to winning the event would be to play steadily and not give up.

“I knew it was going to be a tough day, but from there on I started playing a lot better and got more control over the ball and just kept making pars,” he said.

“I stood on the 10th tee with a four-shot lead and I knew it was going to be difficult. But if I parred every hole on the back nine, it’s going to be difficult for them to catch me.”

Quiros was left to rue his late bogeys, but said he had no complaints.

“Yesterday I was thinking I was going to finish top five and I’m going to finish second by myself,” said the Spaniard.

“Unfortunately I made three putts on 15, and I made a stupid bogey on 17. “

“So after that, it’s going to be tough to reach him. But anyway, I’m very pleased to be where I am.”

Bureau Report

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