Quesne ties course record to win by two over Manassero at Andalucia

Julien Quesne at the Andalucia Open
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Julien Quesne birdied four of his closing five holes Sunday to win the Andalucia Open for his first European Tour victory.
By
PA Sport and Associated Press

Series: European Tour

Published: Sunday, March 18, 2012 | 2:05 p.m.

Julien Quesne, a little known player from France, tied the course record with an 8 under 64 Sunday to capture his first European Tour title at the Andalucia Open.

The 31-year-old birdied four of his closing five holes to finish on a 17-under total of 271 and claim victory by two strokes over Italy’s Matteo Manassero (68) at the Aloha Golf Club..

His win earned him a check for $219,590 and a one-year European Tour exemption.

Tournament host Miguel Angel Jimenez, who was looking to become the oldest winner on the European Tour at age 48, recorded a 71 to finish at 11 under par and tied for seventh.

Quesne, a graduate of the European Challenge Tour who came into the week ranked 322nd in the world, had never finished higher than 16th in any European Tour event, but birdied four of the last five holes.

"I think it's the best day of my life," he said. "I will remember this day all of my life."

His 8-under-par round was the lowest of his career on the main circuit and his winnings on Sunday more than doubled his earnings since he made his debut eight years ago.

Tied for sixth when he teed off, Quesne finished a front-nine 32 with back-to-back birdies, but it was the three in a row from the 14th that put him out in front. That run was completed with a magnificent two putts from well over 60 feet at the long 16th, but his closing seven-footer on the difficult 18th always looked likely to give him victory.

Manassero, 18, who opened the tournament with a 64, took second place on his own when overnight leader Eduardo de la Riva bogeyed the last to drop into third place.

As is their custom, Quesne was showered with champagne by fellow French players afterwards, but at least he resisted the temptation to go and jump in the lake on the 18th. Thomas Levet did that when he captured his home French Open last July -- and broke his leg.

Runner-up Manassero, who two years ago became Europe's youngest-ever winner, may well have to triumph in this coming week's Hassan Trophy in Morocco to climb into the world's top 50 in time for earn a last-minute berth into the Masters. The same is probably true of England's Robert Rock, who finished in a tie for 17th.

Earlier on, it looked as though Raphael Jacquelin would be the Frenchman with something to celebrate. He took over top spot with an outward 32, but bogeyed the 12th and 13th and came in tied for fifth fifth.

Ireland's Shane Lowry also finished disappointingly. After covering the first 14 holes in 7 under to be only one off the lead, he dropped shots on the 16th and 17th and finished alongside Jimenez.