Jimenez holds on as Ryder Cup stars shine again

FIVE of Colin Montgomerie’s Ryder Cup side have now won since the start of August after Miguel Angel Jimenez survived a late scare to take the Omega European Masters in Switzerland yesterday.

The 46-year-old Spaniard, six shots clear with seven to play, had that slashed to one by Celtic Manor team-mate Edoardo Molinari and then hit a tree with his tee shot to the short 16th.

But the Italian was the one to bogey there, while Jimenez got up and down from a fairway bunker for a birdie on the next and, with a closing par, triumphed by three.

It follows the wins by Ross Fisher at the Irish Open, Martin Kaymer in the USPGA Championship, Peter Hanson at the Czech Open and Molinari in last week’s Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles.

Jimenez, making his 22nd successive trip to Crans-sur-Sierre, finally got his hands on the trophy with a four-under-par 67 and 21-under total of 263.

He becomes the eighth oldest winner in European Tour history and the first to record three victories this season.

Incredibly, 11 of his 18 titles have come since he turned 40 and he has earned £8million in that time compared to £5million in his previous 22 years as a professional.

“I made a good recovery at the 16th – that was probably the key to the day,” said Jimenez after being sprayed with champagne and then being encouraged to jump in the pond by the final green. I love to come here. It’s not only my two times second, it’s the amount of times I have finished top 10 and been in contention, so it means a lot.”

He was not the only one celebrating, however.

Molinari’s 17-year-old compatriot Matteo Manassero came third on 16 under following a 68 and with a cheque for more than £102,000 has secured a Tour card for next season in six starts as a professional.

“I am a full member for the first time. It was my goal and what I wanted to do and now I am here,” said last year’s British amateur champion.

Molinari himself now heads off for a three-week break before the Ryder Cup, having finished first and second in his last two events, while Jimenez has come seventh, third and first in his last three.

They were the only two members of Montgomerie’s team in the tournament.

Three ahead overnight, Jimenez doubled that by going to the turn in 32 with birdies at the first, sixth, seventh and ninth. He did not have a bogey on the front nine all week.

But Molinari birdied the 12th and with another at the long 14th was back to only three behind as Jimenez, bunkered off the tee, went over the green for three and took six.

With the pendulum swinging his way Molinari then hit a marvellous six iron to two feet on the 516-yard next and made eagle to Jimenez’s par.

Ireland’s Peter Lawrie secured his second top-10 finish in three weeks despite a missed birdie putt from 12-feet at the last costing his a share of fifth place.

Lawrie carded a final round 69 to share ninth place on 11-under par that earned him Euro 39,000 an up one place to 44th on the money list.

“It’s just a pity I missed that putt on 18 as that would have been a share of fifth but overall I am delighted,” he said. “I only just made the cut on Friday night right on the mark so finish top-10 is good.”


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