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Jimenez two back from superb Rodriguez on record-breaking start

jimenez - Cropped
Miguel Angel Jimenez
Omnisport
NEWS
Modified 31 Jul 2020, 00:24 IST
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Miguel Angel Jimenez was two shots back of sensational leader Sebastian Garcia Rodriguez after the first round of his record-breaking European Tour start at the Hero Open.

Veteran Jimenez is playing his 707th tournament on Tour at the Forest of Arden Marriott Hotel & Country Club, Birmingham, beating the previous benchmark set by Sam Torrance.

The 56-year-old rolled back the years to sign for a bogey-free eight-under 64, making four birdies on the front nine and a further four on the way home before taking a video call from Torrance and enjoying a glass of Rioja. 

"It's been a wonderful day, eight under par," he said. “Beautiful summer day and especially now on the 18th here with all my colleagues. Very emotional. 

"I enjoy everything about my life here. This is not the first time I've said it: it's a way of living. It's not about business, it's a way of living. Golf is my life. You never remember any bad moments."

It was fellow Spaniard Rodriguez who led after round one, though, with the 31-year-old shooting a memorable 10-under 62.

Rodriguez, who recorded his first top-five finish at the Austrian Open, went out in just 29 strokes, with five birdies accompanied by an eagle at the third.

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A bogey at the 10th followed and there was another dropped shot at 16 following back-to-back gains at the 13th and 14th but a second eagle of the day at the penultimate hole was followed by a birdie finish.

"For me it's incredible but the key thing is the driver," said Garcia Rodriguez. "The putts were so close to the hole all the time.

"It's amazing, it's my first low, low score on the European Tour."

Pablo Larrazabal had nine birdies and a solitary bogey to join Jimenez at two off the pace and complete a Spanish top three at the top of the leaderboard.

Oliver Farr was three shots back, while Rasmus Hojgaard, Ashley Chesters and Justin Walters were all six under.

David Drysdale, playing his 500th event on the European Tour event, was facing a battle to make the weekend after signing for a one-over 73.

Published 31 Jul 2020, 00:24 IST
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