European Tour

Jimenez makes Tour history

Miguel Angel Jimenez (Getty Images)
Miguel Angel Jimenez (Getty Images)

Barcelona - Flamboyant veteran Miguel Angel Jimenez has extended his own record as the oldest player to win an European Tour event when he won the Spanish Open in a playoff on Sunday.

The 50-year-old, cigar-smoking Spaniard won his home tournament at the 27th attempt as he outlasted Australian Richard Green and Belgian Thomas Pieters at the first playoff hole after the three finished on four under at the Catalunya Resort.

Fourteen of Jimenez's 21 European titles have come since he turned 40 and he showed he can still compete with the best in the world last month when he finished fourth at the Masters at Augusta.

Jimenez, Green and Pieters all missed the fairway on the first playoff hole and subsequently sent their approach shots wide of the green, but a delightful Jimenez chip from the fringe set him up for a hugely satisfying win.

"There's no words to describe what it means to me, you need to be into my skin but I'm not going to let you," joked the former Ryder Cup winner.

"It's amazing. It's my 21st victory on The European Tour and 27 times I played the Spanish Open. I have been close a couple of times. Today (Sunday) it was very tough out there but I got it in the end.

"All the victories are special, all are unique, some of them give you more money, some less, but all of them are important. You play to win and when you make it you have to appreciate it."

Overnight leader Pieters saw his advantage evaporate with three bogeys in the first four holes while Jimenez seized a two shot lead with three front nine birdies.

Pressure began to show on the leaders down the stretch and a Jimenez bogey at 17 helped draw Green into the frame.

"I don't know if I felt nerves, but you do feel tension, you feel the pressure," continued Jimenez.

"For instance on hole 17, when I saw the approach roll down the slope, those things cut my mind and take away the freedom from my hands. I don't know if that counts as nerves, but as tension, yes."

"There is no secret. Good food, good wine, good cigars and some exercise" added Jimenez, who is on the brink of automatic Ryder Cup qualification and a chance to become the oldest European player to take part in the biennial tournament at Gleneagles in September.

Dutchman Joost Luiten finished alone in fourth on three under while Germany's Maximillian Kieffer and Scotland's Richie Ramsay shared fifth a further shot back.

Leading scores from the Spanish Open following the fourth and final round at the par-72 European Tour Catalunya Resort on Sunday (GBR and IRL unless stated:

284 - Miguel Angel Jimenez (ESP) 69-73-69-73 (Jimenez won at first playoff hole), Richard Green (AUS) 74-69-69-72, Thomas Pieters (BEL) 69-69-71-75
285 - Joost Luiten (NED) 70-69-74-72
286 - Richie Ramsay 69-72-71-74, Maximilian Kieffer (GER) 75-69-69-73
287 - Felipe Aguilar (CHI) 74-70-69-74, Chris Wood 73-70-69-75, Gareth Maybin 73-70-73-71, Alejandro Canizares (ESP) 72-76-69-70, Darren Fichardt (RSA) 77-66-73-71
288 - Richard Bland 73-68-72-75, Alvaro Velasco (ESP) 75-73-68-72, Daan Huizing (NED) 71-76-71-70
289 - Emiliano Grillo (ARG) 74-72-69-74, Ross Fisher 70-76-67-76, Paul Lawrie 70-72-74-73, Shane Lowry 72-74-72-71, Tom Lewis 72-75-69-73, Mikko Korhonen (FIN) 74-69-73-73, Wade Ormsby (AUS) 72-74-71-72, Danny Willett 70-75-74-70, Paul McGinley 72-72-72-73

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