Spain’s Alvaro Quiros blasted his way to a spectacular one-shot victory in the $2.5 million Omega Dubai Desert Classic at the Emirates Golf Club’s Majlis course on Sunday as Tiger Woods failed to end his 14-month title drought.
Quiros carded a final round of 68 for an 11-under total of 277, one stroke clear of South Africa’s James Kingston (67) and Denmark’s Anders Hansen (70).
It was the fifth European Tour win of his career and will also move up to 21st in the world rankings, the highest of his career.
All eyes were on the former world number one Woods who began the final round just one stroke adrift of the leaders.
But he never really got going as he sought his first win in 15 months.
Bogeys at two and three gave him a dismal start and although birdies at the 6th and 11th offered a glimmer of a hope, he dropped shots at the 12th and 14th to end his challenge with a disappointing 75.
Woods, who has still to win a title since returning to the sport following the indiscretions in his private life came to light in late 2009, mixed three birdies with four bogeys to finish with four-under total of 244.
“It was very a very frustrating day,” said Woods who triple bogeyed the final hole.
“I got off to a poor start with two bogeys on the first three holes and just couldn’t recover from there,” said the world number three who was aiming for a third win in Dubai to match the feat of South Africa’s Ernie Els.
“Obviously, I didn’t finish the way I wanted to, but I did put myself up there after two rounds. Just didn’t get the job done in the end,” he said.
“My game is progressing. There were quite a few positives this week but a couple of glaring examples of what I need to work on,” he added.
“We still have two more World Golf Championships coming up, so that’s something I’m looking forward to,” said Woods who last hoisted the trophy in triumph was on November 15, 2009 when he claimed the JBWere Masters in Melbourne.
Quiros went from the agony of a triple bogey to the ecstasy of a hole-in-one at the 161-yard 11th to get back to 11 under par.
The 28-year-old bomber from Cadiz clinched the biggest win of his career after an eagle-two at the second, a triple-bogey seven at the eighth, and, above all else, an ace at the 11th.
“The start was perfect with the eagle on two, but I was shaken after the eighth,” he said.
“I was lucky with some putts around the turn and then a three-quarters wedge on the 11th - it was a perfect shot - once a year it happens.”
The win followed his second place finish behind Thomas Bjorn in Qatar last week and hoists Quiros into the lead in the European Tour’s Race to Dubai.
Quiros started the day alongside Woods and Garcia in a seven-way tie for fourth place one stroke behind joint leaders Rory McIlroy, Thomas Aiken and Hansen.
But on the back of the eagle at the second, he grabbed the lead and was three strokes clear of the field after five holes.
Disaster struck, however, at the eighth.
He hit a wild drive and had to take a drop in sand, which, unfortunately for him plugged. His next shot ended stuck up a tree and he eventually staggered off with a triple bogey seven. The lead had vanished.
Anyone of around 20 golfers were in with a shout at that stage, but the risk-taking Quiros made the break with a magnificent hole-in-one at the 11th where he hit a wedge from 161 yards.
Hansen drew level after grabbing an eagle at the 12th and when Quiros dropped a shot at the 14th, the Dane was ahead.
But a birdie for Quiros at the 16th and a bogey for Hansen on the hole behind him switched their positions and there it remained as both parred their way home.
McIlroy, seeking to repeat his breakthrough tour win here in 2009, also gave himself too much to do with bogeys at one and four. He played steadily enough after that, but was always playing catch up on the leaders.
World number one Lee Westwood briefly flirted with the top of the leaderboard as he came around the turn, but a 6-6 finish, ruined his chances.
Still, with Martin Kaymer well out of the picture, the Englishman was assured of retaining the top spot he has held since unseating Woods on October 31.
Quiros, one behind the leading trio at the start, used his length to his advantage to eagle the 351-yard second and birdie the long next.
They were holes Woods dropped shots at, while joint overnight leader McIlroy bogeyed the first after a poor drive and slipped to joint sixth.
Quiros was ten under par, two ahead of Aiken, France’s Jean-Baptiste Gonnet and Swede Fredrik Andersson Hed, who holed a 25-footer for birdie at the par three fourth.
Quiros went three clear with another birdie on the fifth, but then came a nightmare at the 459-yard eighth.
After driving into the desert scrub he took a penalty drop, but his third shot then flew into a palm tree in front of him and stuck in branches 15 feet up.
Able to identify it with the binoculars of European Tour Chief Referee John Paramor, he took another penalty drop underneath and ran up a triple bogey seven.
The lead as a result switched to Kingston on nine under following his birdies at the tenth and 11th, but now it was wide open again.
Woods, turning in a one over 36, was only three behind and both McIlroy and Westwood were part of a group just two back, but Garcia had a triple bogey of his own on the ninth to be five adrift.
Leading final round scores:
277 Alvaro Quiros (Spain) 73 68 68 68
278 James Kingston (South Africa) 72 72 67 67
Anders Hansen (Denmark) 69 68 71 70
279 Scott Strange (Australia) 72 72 67 68
Jean-Baptiste Gonnet (France) 68 69 72 70
Alvaro Velasco (Spain) 74 70 65 70
280 Fredrik Andersson Hed (Sweden) 69 71 69 71
Thomas Aiken (South Africa) 67 67 74 72
281 Peter Hanson (Sweden) 69 69 73 70
282 Chris Wood (Britain) 71 72 70 69
Bradley Dredge (Britain) 70 72 71 69
Ross Fisher (Britain) 73 69 70 70
Stephen Gallacher (Britain) 70 69 71 72
Rory McIlroy (Britain) 65 68 75 74
283 Ben Curtis (U.S.) 71 71 72 69
Jose Maria Olazabal (Spain) 73 69 72 69
Gregory Havret (France) 72 71 69 71
Lee Westwood (Britain) 69 70 72 72
Michael Hoey (Britain) 70 67 73 73
284 Ricardo Gonzalez (Argentina) 71 71 78 64
Robert Rock (Britain) 73 71 71 69
Rafael Cabrera (Spain) 71 68 74 71
Marc Warren (Britain) 72 67 74 71
Raphael Jacquelin (France) 72 70 69 73
Tiger Woods (U.S.) 71 66 72 75
Sergio Garcia (Spain) 67 67 75 75
Brett Rumford (Australia) 69 68 72 75
285 Estanislao Goya (Argentina) 73 70 72 70
Simon Dyson (Britain) 72 72 70 71
Nicolas Colsaerts (Belgium) 73 71 69 72