Home sweet home for Jimenez

Miguel Angel Jimenez finally won the Spanish Open at the 27th attempt to extend his own record as the oldest winner in European Tour history yesterday.

Home sweet home for Jimenez

Jimenez let slip an early two-shot lead before defeating Richard Green and Thomas Pieters on the first hole of a sudden-death play-off after the trio had finished tied on four under par following an attritional final round at PGA Catalunya.

The players returned to the 18th for the play-off and all three failed to find the fairway or green in regulation, but Jimenez almost holed his chip from the back of the green for a birdie and a par proved good enough.

Green failed to get up and down from over the green and overnight leader Pieters, who was short, saw his par putt catch the lip of the hole and stay out.

Jimenez has now won 21 European Tour titles, 14 of them coming since he turned 40, and yesterday’s hard-fought victory continues a remarkable season.

The 50-year-old was in contention to become the oldest Major champion in history before finishing fourth in the Masters last month, and seven days later won on his Champions Tour debut.

“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!” Jimenez said. “It’s amazing. It’s my 21st victory on the European Tour and 27 times I played the Spanish Open. Today 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.”

“I don’t know if I felt nerves, but you do feel tension, you feel the pressure.”

Asked the secret of his longevity, Jimenez added: “There is no secret. Good food, good wine, good cigars and some exercise!”

Jimenez’s win leaves him just outside the automatic Ryder Cup qualifying places and boosts his ambition of becoming Europe’s oldest ever player at Gleneagles in September; Ted Ray was 50 years, two months and five days old at the first event in 1927.

“I would break all the records at 50,” added Jimenez, whose last appearance was at Celtic Manor in 2010.

“I hope I can make the team and defend the European colours in Scotland.”

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