Thomas Björn of Denmark won the Commercialbank Qatar Masters presented by Dolphin Energy at Doha Golf Club by four shots from Spain’s Alvaro Quiros.
Björn began the final round one stroke clear of Markus Brier but as the Austrian faltered, long-hitting Alvaro Quiros emerged as Björn’s closest challenger.
The Dane clung on to his lead through the early part of his final round, opening with 14 straight pars. Although not on top form, he refused to yield to the chasing pack.
“I said yesterday it was going to be one of those days where it’s a question of hanging in, and that’s all I did earlier on,” said Björn. “I didn’t play particularly well for at least the first six holes. I was really struggling and didn’t hit any fairways, and just kept holing a few putts for pars.”
Quiros closed the gap on Björn to just one shot with birdies at the 5th, 10th, 11th and 14th. But Björn broke his string of pars with a birdie at the 15th and, as Quiros had earlier missed a short putt to drop a shot on the same hole, the Dane’s lead was stretched to three.
The Spaniard struck back with a birdie at the driveable 16th but then gave the shot away by bogeying the par-3 17th. He then closed with another birdie to set the clubhouse target at 10-under-par.
Björn was not to be denied however. He too birdied the 16th then parred the 17th to take a three shot cushion to the 72nd hole. He played the par-5 conservatively, laying up with his second shot. He then fired his third on to the green and holed the putt for a closing birdie and an 11th European Tour victory.
Markus Brier steadied the ship after a poor start to end the week in a tie for third with Rafael Cabrera-Bello.
England’s David Howell showed welcome signs of a return to form, closing with an excellent 68 to finish alone in fifth.
Commercialbank Qatar Masters presented by Dolphin Energy
Doha Golf Club Qatar
Feb 3-6, purse €1,800,000, par 72
1 Thomas Björn (Den) 74 65 66 69 274 €303,114
2 Alvaro Quiros (Esp) 75 69 66 68 278 €202,073
T3 Markus Brier (Aut) 71 66 69 73 279 €102,393
T3 Rafael Cabrera-Bello (Esp) 77 68 66 68 279 €102,393
5 David Howell (Eng) 75 69 68 68 280 €77,113
T6 Thomas Aiken (RSA) 71 69 69 73 282 €54,561
T6 Soren Hansen (Den) 74 71 68 69 282 €54,561
T6 Robert Karlsson (Swe) 70 69 69 74 282 €54,561
Note: Player in bold signifies Titleist ball usage only