Miguel Angel Jimenez closes with 66 to win Champions Tour opener
Miguel Angel Jimenez rallied to win the Champions Tour’s season-opening Mitsubishi Electric Championship, birdieing six of the final nine holes Sunday for a one-stroke victory over Mark O’Meara.
The Spaniard closed with a 6-under-par 66 for his second victory in three career starts on the 50-and-over tour. He broke a tie with O’Meara with a 20-foot birdie putt on the par-3 17th.
"It was uphill against the grain and into the wind," said Jimenez, a 21-time winner on the European Tour. "I knew I had to hit it hard."
Jimenez won the Greater Gwinnett Championship last year, a week after finishing fourth in the Masters. In his other Champions Tour start, he tied for eighth in the Senior British Open in July. In May, he won the Spanish Open at 50 years, 133 days to break his own record as the oldest European Tour champion.
Jimenez finished at 17-under 199 at Hualalai Golf Club. He played the 12 par 5s in 12 under with an eagle and 10 birdies.
After making two birdies and a double bogey on the front nine, he birdied Nos. 10, 11, 13-15 and 17 and closed with a two-putt par.
O’Meara shot a 64. The two-time Champions Tour winner finished second for the 15th time.
"People remember the winner, not second place," O’Meara said. "I’m disappointed, but Miguel played well when he had to."
Fred Couples was third at 14 under, following his second-round 64 with a 66. Rocco Mediate, tied with Jimenez for the second-round lead, had a 70 to finish fourth at 13 under.
The 40-player field featured major champions from the last five years, other tournament winners in the past two seasons and sponsor invitees.