MARBELLA, Spain (AP) – Julien Quesne tied the course record with an 8-under 64 on Sunday to win the Andalucian Open for his first European Tour victory.
The 31-year-old birdied four of his final five holes to finish at 17 under, winning by two strokes ahead of Matteo Manassero of Italy (68).
“This is the best day of my life. I have been dreaming of this moment since I was 10,” said Quesne, who set up the victory by hitting a 4-iron 220 yards to seven feet for birdie on No. 18. “It was not easy, you know. Matteo, Miguel (Angel Jimenez), Eduardo de la Riva, they all played good.
“I asked my caddie all the time since (No.) 15, and I knew that if I holed my putt on 18 I would have a good chance. So I am very proud that I won shooting a 64, finishing with a birdie on 18, the toughest hole on the course. I will remember this day for the rest of my life.”
Quesne, who has been to European Tour Q-School seven times to seek his playing card, also earned a one-year Tour exemption to the end of 2013.
He also qualified for November’s WGC-Champions event at Millions Hills in China along with a start in next year’s Volvo Champions.
Quesne has enjoyed six other lesser victories in his eight-year pro career, including two on the secondary Challenge Tour.
Ten of Quesne’s French golfing colleagues and their caddies showered France’s 26th European Tour winner in champagne. Among those was Thomas Levet, who won the 2008 Andalucian Open the last time it was played on the Aloha course.
The 18-year-old Manassero kept alive his hopes of making his professional debut next month at the Masters. However, he now needs to win the final qualifying event in Europe to make it to Augusta. The Hassan 11 Trophy in Morocco starts Thursday.
“It’s been a pretty stressful week and a long week, having shot a course record on day one as you have to keep it going,” said Manassero. “I kind of expected someone like Julien to win as it was going to take a low round to win, given there was so many players close to the lead.
“So I am very happy for Julien to win his first tournament and to birdie 18 is a great effort. I go to Morocco tomorrow and hopefully get myself into Augusta. I don’t know what I have to do, but if I win then that should go a long way to helping me qualify.”
Eduardo De La Riva of Spain, who led by a stroke going into the last day, shot a 70 to secure third place at 14 under.
Jimenez, the tournament host who was looking to become the oldest winner on the European Tour, carded a 71 to finish 11 under.