And while Quiros was making it a Dubai double – the Spaniard won the Dubai Desert Classic ten months earlier – World Number One Luke Donald carved his own remarkable slice of golfing history by becoming the first man to win the Money Lists on both the US and European tours in the same year after finishing third overall to win The Race to Dubai.
Quiros’s four round total of nineteen under par (269) saw off a gutsy challenge by Scotland’s Paul Lawrie who finished two shots back in second after matching Quiros’s five under par 67. Donald finished in third one shot further back on sixteen under (272) with Swede Peter Hanson in fourth on fourteen under (274).
Caption: Luke Donald after winning The Race to Dubai.
“I got off to a great start with three birdies in the first three holes but Paul was holing everything too so even that wasn’t enough,” said Quiros after receiving the trophy from Mohammed Sharaf, CEO of presenting sponsor DP World.
“I had to keep fighting to the end and when I sunk that big putt for eagle on the last it was just perfect.”
With Donald already in the clubhouse and assured of The Race to Dubai crown after another blemish-free round of 66 (-6), the spotlight was on Lawrie and Quiros as they came up the par five eighteenth in front of a packed audience at the Earth course, Jumeirah Golf Estates.
Quiros enjoyed a one shot lead over 1999 Open Champion Lawrie and found the green in two mighty shots to put the pressure all on the Scot. And when the big hitting Spanish star rolled in a monster putt of around 40ft, he was guaranteed the sixth European Tour crown of his career and a cheque for $1.25 million.
Caption: Mohammed Sharaf, DP World CEO, George O’Grady, Chief Executive of the European Tour and Alvaro Quiros with the Dubai World Championship trophy
For Donald, it was a dream end to what has been a stunning year for the 34 year-old Englishman who now adds the European Number One title to his World Number One billing.
“This is something I’ve wanted for the last few months – to try and win both Money Lists,” said Donald, who was afforded a standing ovation from the packed galleries after rolling in a birdie putt on the 18th.
“I looked at the leaderboard on thirteen and when I saw that Rory’s name wasn’t there and the leaders were playing well, I kind of knew I had made history and the last six holes were kind of surreal. The pressure went away. I was able to just enjoy myself, have a few smiles, and enjoy the walk.”
Donald’s only rival for The Race to Dubai title, World Number Two Rory McIlroy finished with a one under par 71 to finish on 279, seven shots behind Donald in a tie for eleventh place.
“Luke deserves it – basically every time he’s teed it up, he’s had a chance or he’s finished in the top five or the top ten,” said McIlroy.
“That takes an incredible amount of mental strength – you have to be so good to keep grinding out the scores when you need to. I’ve practised with Luke and I’ve played with him. He works incredibly hard as well, and that’s what you need to do to keep up that level of consistency.
Watched by crowds of over 50,000 spectators, the Dubai World Championship presented by DP World – staged under the patronage of HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Sports Council – was an overwhelming success and event officials have announced that The Race to Dubai will continue for another three years culminating in the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai again hosted by Jumeirah Golf Estates.