ANDALUCIA, SPAIN |
Playing in only his fourth
tournament since he graduated from the
Challenge Tour at the end of last year, 31-year-
old Julien Quesne had a thriller of a closing 64
on Sunday to win the Open de Andalucia by two
shots from Matteo Manassero.
“This was the best day of my life,” said the
French player, before admitting to being more than
a little shocked. “It is very quick for me to win.”
Quesne may be the most courteous of
Frenchmen but that did not stop him from
elbowing a host of more experienced players
from the leader-board. One by one, such as
Simon Kahn, David Lynn, Hennie Otto, Raphael
Jacquelin, Marcel Siem and Miguel Angel
Jimenez all faded from the picture as he closed
with four birdies in his last five holes.
He had a bit of a wait on his hands to see
what Manassero and Eduardo de la Riva would
do down the 17th and 18th but, in the event,
neither posed a serious threat. Manassero had
left it a bit too late to come to life, while de La
Riva who, like Manassero, had needed to hole
his second to the 448 yards 18th to force a play-
off, ended up with a three-putt five and third
place. Still, a magnificent performance from a
Spanish Tour player – he is the son of a famous
Spanish amateur – who started the week out-
side the world’s top 600.
All week, Quesne had looked impressive on
the range, a player who swung the club so well
that everyone was surprised not to be able to
place him. In fact, he is a bit of a Y E Yang, one
of the game’s later starters. Where Yang began
at 19, Quesne did not play until he was 17. He is
a good all-round sportsman who still dabbles
in tennis and squash, much of it with his great
friend Thomas Levet.
Inevitably, it was Levet who led the close-
knit French corps in dousing Quesne in cham-
pagne in a country where the stuff is hardly
flowing too freely at the moment.
Jimenez, who used his own money to top
up tournament funds, finished seventh equal
as he played some truly great golf in amongst
his other commitments. The best of it came on
the back nine on Saturday when he repaired an
outward 38 with a homeward 31.
“I played the front nine like a donkey and the
back nine like an Andalusian thoroughbred,”
came his very apposite summation.
Heaven knows how much he spent but, in
addition to pocketing £ 24,350 in prize-money,
he was about to receive a crate of the finest
Bordeaux from the winner.
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