Quesne earns first European Tour victory in Andalucia
Andalucia, Spain (Sports Network) - Julien Quesne birdied four of his final five holes Sunday to break away from the field and earn the victory at the Open de Andalucia.
The decisive run, which also included a key par save at the 17th, finished an eight-under 64 and allowed the Frenchman to take his first European Tour win. He was doused in champagne by fellow French golfers, a wild celebration to commemorate the victory.
"I think it was the best shower of my life," Quesne said.
Quesne's round matched the course record and sent him into the clubhouse at 17-under-par 271. He then held on for a two-stroke victory, as neither Matteo Manassero nor Eduardo de la Riva could catch up.
Manassero carded a 68 and finished in second at 15-under 273. He had fired a 64 on Thursday to grab the first-round lead.
De la Riva, who sat in first place after the second and third rounds, couldn't come up with the same amount of birdies down the stretch as Quesne. He bogeyed the last to end with a 70, and took third at minus-14.
Nearing the end of Sunday's round there was a logjam near the top of the leaderboard, where more than half a dozen players were challenging for the lead. Quesne, Manassero and de la Riva were all in first at 13-under and on their back nines.
Quesne, 31, was first to come through and essentially kicked off a game of catch-me-if-you-can.
At the par-four 14th, he rolled in a 12-footer for birdie from the edge of the green, then sank an even longer birdie try at the 15th. The putt just tipped into the cup and put him at 15-under.
Behind him on the course, Manassero and de la Riva stayed close with birdies at the 13th. Manassero sank a speedy putt of about 25 feet to move to 14-under while de la Riva followed in the next pairing and drained a slightly downhill eight-footer.
Hennie Otto briefly joined them at minus-14 with a birdie at 14, but he bogeyed two of his final four holes to fall out of contention. And with the way Quesne was playing, even pars weren't good enough to get the win.
Quesne set himself up for an eagle putt at the par-five 16th and nearly got it in the hole, but his tap-in for birdie still lowered his score to 16-under.
Manassero, on the other hand, put himself in tough positions for birdies. He needed to make a putt from just off the green at the 14th and was forced to blast out of a greenside bunker at the 15th. The Italian teenager nearly made both shots, but saved par each time to stay at minus-14.
De la Riva managed a birdie at the 14th to move to 15-under. That put pressure on Quesne, especially because the leader found the rough with his tee shot at the par-three 17th.
But after recovering for par, Quesne knocked his approach at the 18th within six feet and converted the birdie to close his round. The brilliant final round was his best of the season for the two-time Challenge Tour winner.
"I was very nervous on the last putt, but most of the time I stayed calm, just because I played shot after shot," Quesne said.
As he sat in a small tent watching the tournament, Manassero and de la Riva were still on the course and there was still plenty of opportunity for suspense. But neither provided it.
After a birdie at 16, Manassero parred his final two holes. De la Riva parred three in a row before teeing off at the 18th, needing to hole his second shot to force a playoff. Not only did he not get the eagle, he missed his par putt to fall into third.
David Lynn (69) came in fourth at 13-under, while Raphael Jacquelin (69) and Otto (70) shared fifth at minus-12.
NOTES: Quesne pocketed 166,660 euros for the victory...Simon Khan, who entered Sunday one shot behind de la Riva, stumbled to a 73 and ended in a tie for 11th and 10-under...Quesne's victory is his first on the European Tour, and made him the 400th different winner on the European Tour...Quesne's previous best finish of 2012 was a tie for 17th at the Avantha Masters...The European Tour heads to Morocco next week for the Trophee Hassan II, where David Horsey won last year.
03/18 14:02:49 ET