Just shy of 50, Jimenez notches his 20th European Tour victory
Miguel Angel Jimenez successfully defended his Hong Kong Open title Sunday to extend his record as the oldest winner in European Tour history.
The Spaniard won at 49 years, 337 days to break the record he set last year at Hong Kong Golf Club, holing an 18-foot birdie on the first hole of a playoff with Thailand’s Prom Meesawat and Wales’ Stuart Manley.
”I turn 50 next month, but I’m still fit,” Jimenez said. ”I stretch every morning. You have to do this to keep up with the younger lot.”
Jimenez won the event for the fourth time to match the tournament victory record set by Taiwan’s Hsieh Yong Yo, the winner in 1963, `64, `75 and `78.
”It just gets better and better. I love Hong Kong and this course,” said Jimenez, also the winner in 2004 and 2007. ”This is my fourth, and it was my hardest. When you need to play a playoff, you need to play one more hole, and against two guys also trying to win is hard. But my experience paid off.”
Jimenez has 20 European Tour victories, a tour-record 13 since turning 40.
Jimenez closed with a 4-under 66 to match Meesawat at 12-under 268. Manley holed a birdie chip on the final hole of regulation for a 68, and Meesawat had two eagles in a 65.
”I was very pleased with my round,” Meesawat said. ”But I had a few chances to collect a couple more birdies. Unfortunately, they fell short and in the playoff I had a bad approach shot.”
In the playoff, Jimenez hit his approach on the green at the par-4, 410-yard 18th. Manley sliced his shot onto a corporate box roof, and Meesawat’s approach fell just short of the green.
After Manley and Meesawat failed to hole their third shots, Jimenez rolled in his birdie putt.
”I just love this course,” Jimenez said. ”It is an old-fashioned course where accuracy off the tee counts. You have to control the ball here.”
Robert-Jan Derksen of the Netherlands was fourth at 11 under after a 65.