Quiros, the current Dubai Desert Classic champion and former winner of the Commercialbank Qatar Masters, showed he is clearly a fan of the sprawling desert layout of the Earth course at Jumeirah Golf Estates by signing off his second round with a stunning eagle three on the 620-yard 18th hole.
An additional six birdies and no dropped shots saw Quiros clear at the top of the leaderboard on twelve under par (132) with a healthy four-shot lead over early pacesetter Peter Hanson of Sweden with England’s Robert Rock and US Open Champion Rory McIroy from Northern Ireland one shot further back on seven under (137).
“Hopefully there is even better golf to come,” said a beaming Quiros after delighting record crowds at the $7.5 million grand finale to The Race to Dubai. “I always seem to do well in the Middle East – the weather is great for one thing and the set up of the courses really suits my game. But this is only the half way stage and while it is a good thing for me, there is still a lot of golf to be played.”
Although renowned for the power and length of his drives and iron play, the Spaniard would like to think he is much more than a bomber. “Of course having a good length off the tee helps but you still have to make the putts to score well – and eight under par is a good round of golf on this course.”
While Quiros was in imperious form, McIlroy’s chances of winning the tournament and ousting Luke Donald from the top of The Race to Dubai were dealt a blow thanks to dropped shots at the closing two holes in a round of 71 (-1).
“I thought that if I got to ten under for the two rounds that would be perfect but it wasn’t to be,” said McIlroy who continues to fight for The Race to Dubai crown despite suffering the aftermath of a recent virus. “I don’t feel too bad to be honest and I’ve given myself a bit of an uphill battle but I can make up the shots – I just have to bide my time and play as well as I can.”
While McIlroy faltered, Donald made up ground in his fight to stay at the top of the standings and make history by becoming the first player to the Money Lists in both Europe and the USA. A round of 68 – including back-to-back birdies over the final three holes – was enough to move him up the rankings to four under par (140) and eight shots off the pace in equal twelfth.
“I’m going to need to be even more patient at the weekend,” said Donald, who will win The Race to Dubai by finishing inside the top nine at the Earth course. “I’ve been making a few too many errors over the first couple of days and if I can go back to the kind of golf that got me here in the first place, then I should be fine. I need to play the weekend like Luke Donald knows how to play.”
But while all eyes remain on the top two and their private war to be European Number One, Quiros is in the mood to throw a spanner in the works.
“Luke and Rory are not the only two players in this tournament,” he said. “Obviously they are fighting for The Race to Dubai final top position, but the rest of are playing here to try to ruin the party and this is good I think otherwise the competition wouldn’t be as stiff.”
Held under the patronage of HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Sports Council, the Dubai World Championship presented by DP World continues with round three today (Saturday) with play staring at 7.52am. Leader Quiros will take to the course alongside Hanson at 12.40pm and entrance is free of charge to the public.