Quiros holds slender lead heading into Hassan Trophy final round

Alvaro Quiros found a birdie at the last to retain the outright lead heading into the final round of the Hassan Trophy in Morocco.

The big-hitting Spaniard carded a level-par 72 at Royal Golf Dar Es Salam to hold a one-shot lead over Finland's Mikko Ilonen, France's Alex Levy and South African pair Christiaan Bezuidenhout and Erik van Rooyen.

The 35-year-old Quiros was 21st in the world rankings after winning his sixth European Tour title in 2011, but fell as low as 703rd before landing his seventh victory at last year's Rocco Forte Open in Sicily.

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That success failed to spark a revival, with Quiros missing the cut in 16 of the 19 events he had played since, before rediscovering his form this week.

"I have to recognise that it felt a little bit like Russian roulette," Quiros said. "Suddenly great shot, suddenly not that good, but I have to really believe that I fight very nicely, and that's the most important thing.

"I'm happy to finish in level par today because it was my tricky day, I want to think, so hopefully tomorrow will be a better day.

"The truth is I will need to see how my game is waking up tomorrow to believe in being able to shoot a decent score that allows me to fight for the title or not.

"Obviously the players that we have over there are very good, all of them, too, so we will see.

"That's why we are here, to be leading tournaments and being able to develop."

Starting the day with a one-shot advantage, Quiros bogeyed the opening hole but recovered the shot after a lucky bounce on the third.

Quiros and Van Rooyen were two clear at the turn, but the latter found sand at the 10th and bogeyed.

A poor drive on the 13th meant Quiros had to hole from 15 feet just to limit the damage to a single shot at the 13th as he and Van Rooyen were joined at the top of the leaderboard by clubhouse leader Ilonen and Levy.

Quiros restored his advantage with a birdie on the 15th only to give the shot back following a poor drive at the next.

However, he found the green in two at the par-five 18th and duly two-putted for birdie to separate himself from the leading pack.

Ilonen had seven birdies in a round of 66, Levy signed for a 69, Bezuidenhout posted a 68 and Van Rooyen was round in 71.

Former winner Jeunghun Wang and Canada's Austin Connelly share sixth on five under, with England's Andy Sullivan and Wales' Bradley Dredge the leading British players on three under.

- PA

 

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