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Quiros to ease off power driver to accelerate Ryder chances

By Norman Dabell

MALAGA, Spain (Reuters) - Spanish big-hitter Alvaro Quiros has decided to sacrifice power and yards for accuracy to try to nail a place in Europe's Ryder Cup team.

Quiros, 26, was the longest driver on the European Tour in 2009 with an average distance of nearly 315 yards, and one of the longest in golf. But his waywardness off the tee has been holding him in check.

In a bid to enjoy a better U.S. Masters the second time around after missing the cut last year, and also help his Ryder Cup cause, the world number 33 from Cadiz is promising not to try to rip the cover off the ball any more.

"People may not believe it but I'm not going for power these days," Quiros told Reuters on Wednesday on the eve of the Andalucia Open at the Malaga Parador course.

"I've made some changes during a winter break and I'm determined to develop my accuracy rather than just go for power.

"I realized I wasn't going to hit the ball any further than I did two years ago so I decided I had to hit it better."

European Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie has often sung Quiros's praises but the Spaniard said he knew he had to become a more accurate player to earn his place at Celtic Manor, Wales, against the U.S. in October.

"The most important thing for me is to try to qualify for the Ryder Cup and I'm going to fight for my place until the last tournament of qualifying. I know I have to improve for the team."

Quiros trails seven places adrift of automatic qualification for the Ryder Cup at the moment, lying 16th in the standings. Victory this week would not elevate him into the automatic top nine but would take him close.

His eye, though, is on a better experience this time at Augusta to really kick-start his bid for a Ryder Cup debut.

"I was playing my first major when I went to the Masters last year and I came out like a bullet. But then I suffered so much that I said to myself if I keep hitting the ball the same way I wouldn't come back.

"Now my expectations are something else. Last year it was all about hitting the ball; this time it is about shooting low and staying out of trouble."

Quiros is the highest ranked player in the field in Malaga. His compatriot Miguel Angel Jimenez, three places lower in the world rankings but a spot higher on the Ryder Cup table, is the promoter of the event on the Costa del Sol.

(Editing by Justin Palmer

To query or comment on this story email sportsfeedback@thomsonreuters.com)