McGrane fourth in Qatar Masters

McGrane fourth in Qatar Masters
Damien McGrane

Damien McGrane

Damien McGrane claimed his best finish since his maiden tour win when he closed with a brilliant five-under par 67 to grab fourth place behind winner Alvaro Quiros in the Qatar Masters.

Now the Meath man is looking forward to his return to the Dubai Desert Classic next week, 12 months after playing two days in a row with Tiger Woods.

McGrane outscored Woods in the third round and went out to lift his maiden European Tour win in the Volvo China Open 11 weeks later.

And he's hoping to use his performance in Qatar this week as a springboard to bigger and better things this season.

Recalling last year's Dubai event, where he eventually finished tied 44th behind winner Woods, he said: "I remember it fondly and it was a positive experience for me. I used it positively and used it to my advantage afterwards.

"And I am glad I had that time with him (Tiger). It is a great memory to have and the sooner he gets back here the better."

Quiros closed with a 69 to win by three shots on 19 under par from Louis Oosthuizen (71) and Henrik Stenson (68) with McGrane picking up €94,321 as he finished six behind on 13-under par.

The Kells ace started the day eight shots behind overnight leader Quiros in a share of 13th place but surged through the field by picking up four shots in the first ten hole.

Birdies at the first and fourth moved him into the top ten and when he eagled the par five 10th, he knew he had a chance to post a difficult clubhouse target.

A birdie at the 12th moved him to 13 under par and just a couple of shots off the lead. 

But the putter went cold after that and after he missed a nine footer for birdie at the 14th he was happy to par his way home to claim his best finish since his victory in Beijing last year.

He said: "I played well and I played well all week. I picked up a few birdies and got a bit of momentum early on, which is something I have been lacking the last while. 

"Once I got momentum on my side I was able to play good. I hit a lot of good shots and missed a few birdie putts but that's golf. A 67 is a good result and I made a good two putt on the last. When you get to five under, it is nice to get it in. 

"Yes, I made eagle at the 10th and  I hit plenty of good shots after that but I started missing the putts and you need to hole everything when you are  as far back as I was. 

"I think I was eight shots behind. But to finish easily in the top 10 is a nice reward, especially so early in the season.

"I have played a lot of good golf and it is a positive thing going forward. Hopefully I have plenty more to come this year."

"I played well in South Africa and I played well last week but just struggled a little in the greens. "

Rory McIlroy closed with a one under par 71 to share 46th place on three under with Gary Murphy tied 58th on level par after a final round 73.