Alvaro Quiros is a long hitter. Sometimes a little too long. On the 11th hole, a 606-yard par 5 he hit his second shot onto the green. There were two problems with that: First, the group ahead hadn't vacated the green and second, that group included Tiger Woods. After hitting his tee ball more than 300 yards, Quiros hit driver off the deck and it rolled onto the green while Woods' group was putting out.
"We can't make this all about Tiger," joked Fred Couples, who was playing with Quiros. "He hit it into three players and three caddies." Quiros apologized to Woods, Rich Beem and Padraig Harrington on the next tee. "[There was] nothing to apologize for,"said Woods. "I mean, that's just stupid long."
Quiros doesn't need to apologize for his game, either. The 26-year-old Spaniard birdied four of his first eight holes to take the early lead at four-under par, this despite missing a four-foot birdie putt on No. 10, his first hole. He bogeyed 18, but recovered with a birdie on 2 to return to four under. He played the front nine in even par to finish at three-under 69, tied for third among the early groups, two back of Woods and one back of Harrington.
"He's a blaster," said Couples. "Is he the longest I've ever played with? I don't know. He's in the top five." Couples mentioned John Daly, Bubba Watson and former PGA Tour player and Champions Tour star Jim Dent, among players who are the longest he has played with.
Quiros was a rising star from the start of his career. He won the 2007 Alfred Dunhill Championship in his first appearance as a full European Tour member. However ligament damage in his left wrist caused him to miss six months. This past January he won the Qatar Masters to move into the top 30 on the World Ranking and qualify for the majors and World Golf Championship events. He was T-2 at the European Open, but has missed the cut at the year's first three majors.
"He's always smiling," said close friend Sergio Garcia. "He's got a lot of energy. But it's all about putting the ball in play and with his potential and his strength, the course, even a long course like this, becomes quite a bit shorter."
-- John Antonini
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