Jimenez is oldest European Tour winner
HONG KONG (AFP) –
Spanish veteran Miguel Angel Jimenez became the oldest winner in the history of the European Tour after he triumphed at the $2 million UBS Hong Kong Open on Sunday for a third time.
The 48-year-old held off the rampaging Fredrik Andersson Hed of Sweden to earn a hat-trick of titles in Fanling by one shot. Jimenez, the co-overnight leader, carded a final-round 65 for a four-day total of 15-under-par 265.
With Andersson Hed finishing before the overnight joint leaders of Jimenez and the 2005 US Open winner Michael Campbell of New Zealand, the cigar-chomping Spaniard knew he only had to make par at the 18th for a historic victory.
“I saw Andersson had a 14-under-par and I knew I just had to concentrate, keep my pace, keep my rhythm and keep hitting the ball the way I was hitting it,” said Jimenez, who had exuded confidence as he strode along the 18th fairway.
“It’s an honour to make a record,” he added. “And I hope it isn’t the last one.”
Jimenez, at 48 years and 318 days, beats the previous oldest winner on the European Tour. That was Des Smyth, who was 48 years and 34 days when he triumphed at the 2001 Madeira Islands Open.
A vice-captain for Europe’s victorious team at the Ryder Cup at Medinah, the pony-tailed Jimenez was a picture of consistency over the week, carding rounds of 65, 67, 68 and 65 at the par-70 Hong Kong Golf Club.
He only made two bogeys all week — both in the first round on Thursday. He pockets 260,638.04 euros ($333,000).
“This is a great place, I love to come here. I like the place, I like the city, especially I like the golf course. It’s a golf course that is not long, you need to play the game and keep focus, keep patient,” said Jimenez.
“Next year will be my 25th year on the tour, but I still love it. This is the key: love what you are doing and enjoy yourself.”
It was Jimenez’s 19th European Tour victory. His last was in 2010 at the European Masters.
Australia’s Marcus Fraser rocketed five places up the leaderboard with his final-round 64 to finish third overall, two shots behind Andersson Hed and three behind Jimenez.
Italian sensation Matteo Manassero, who at one stage in the final round got within just a single shot of the leader, was joint fourth on 11-under, together with Scotland’s Stephen Gallacher and the Irishman Peter Lawrie.
Matt Kuchar, of the United States, was seventh on nine-under.
Campbell’s championship assault faded badly on the last day. He ended tied eighth with Pablo Larrazabal after the strapping Kiwi carded a disappointing 72.