Evergreen Miguel Angel Jimenez shows no signs of slowing down having won the Champions Tour's Mitsubishi Electric Championship in style on Sunday in Hawaii
I guess we should perhaps not be surprised if a player still ranked in the world’s Top 40 wins a Champions Tour event, but Miguel Angel Jimenez did it in style on Sunday, cramming six birdies into his final nine holes to see off the challenges of Mark O’Meara and Fred Couples.
Golf Monthly spent time with the Spaniard the week before on the range in Abu Dhabi where he had been on excellent form for the camera (as ever!) and told us of his plans to play a little more in America this year while still being fully committed to the European Tour. Fresh from a top 20 finish in the Middle East, Jimenez jetted straight to Hawaii for just his second Champions Tour start on American soil.
He has now won them both, having lifted the Great Gwinnett Championship last April on his debut, with his only other start, The Senior Open Championship at Royal Porthcawl last year where he finished tied 8th.
On the spectacular course at Hualalai, Jimenez opened with a round of 69, undone by a double bogey on the par-3 5th, where he would also go on to drop two shots on Sunday. But to counter this, and just two other bogeys all week, Jimenez crammed 21 birdies and one eagle into 54 holes, with nine of those birdies coming in Saturday’s second round 64.
After labouring to the turn in level-par 36 on Sunday, ‘The Mechanic’ caught fire on the back nine, cramming six birdies into the closing stretch, including a crucial one from long range on the 17th that fell in from seemingly long left of the hole to see him overhaul O’Meara. “It was uphill against the grain and into the wind,” said Jimenez afterwards. “I knew I had to hit it hard.”
Last year, Jimenez finished 21st on the European Tour Order of Merit as a senior, having won his home Open in May at the 27th attempt to become the first ever 50-year-old to win on the main tour… breaking his own record as the tour’s oldest winner! And having also recorded high finishes in big European Tour events over his last few starts – 6th in the Nedbank, and 4th in Turkey at the end of last year – the Miguel Angel Jimenez story looks set to run and run wherever he chooses to play.