Perfect Timing for Jimenez

Mon 06 Sep 2010

Perfect Timing for Jimenez

Crans Montana, Switzerland, September 5: Like vintage wine, Spanish star Miguel Angel Jimenez keeps getting better with age.
He claimed a long-awaited and popular victory at the Omega European Masters after beating Ryder Cup teammate Edoardo Molinari of Italy by three shots on Sunday for his 18th career victory.
The 46-year-old veteran, making his 22nd successive visit to the breath-taking Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club, withstood a late fight back by Molinari with a four-under-par 67 in the final round.
A winning total of 21-under-par 263 earned Jimenez his third title of the season and completed a fine Omega double as he also won the Omega Dubai Desert Classic along with the French Open earlier this year. It was also his 11th victory since turning 40.
Italian prodigy Matteo Manassero, who at 17 is young enough to be Jimenez’s son, finished third after closing with a 68 while Korea’s teenage rising star Noh Seung-yul finished an impressive fourth after a 67 to emerge as the top Asian Tour player in the €2 million (US$2.8 million) event jointly sanctioned with the European Tour.
“It is an incredible feeling to win at last. I have been many times in contention and twice second and many times in the top-10. I really like the tournament and coming here. It feels nice,” said Jimenez, who joined an illustrious club of winners at Crans Montana which includes Nick Faldo, Ernie Els, Ian Woosnam, Lee Westwood, Seve Ballesteros and Jose Maria Olazabal.
“I am like a good wine…getting better with age. To me it’s a message that you can have a long career. I still have the passion for the game and I don’t mind seeing the next generation,” added Jimenez, whose card included five birdies against a lone bogey.

When told that it was his second Omega victory, the Spaniard quipped: “I am always on time and never late.”

Leading by three overnight, the pony-tailed and cigar-chomping Spaniard opened up a massive six shot lead after brilliantly turning in 32 but Molinari refused to give in and courageously produced two birdies on 12and 14 and a stunning eagle on the par five 15th hole to reduce the lead to one as the Spaniard wobbled with a bogey on 14.
But the powerful Italian, who was bidding for his second straight win after his triumph in last week’s Johnnie Walker Championship in Scotland, dropped a crucial bogey on 16 when his five iron approach found the greenside bunker. And when Jimenez rolled in an eight foot curler for birdie on 17, the fight was over.

“On the back nine, I started hitting good shots. With the par fives, I knew I had a chance and I made birdie and eagle. At that point, Miguel was under a lot of pressure but on 16, I think I hit a great shot but the wind died and the ball was two yards short.
“If it had pitched to the front of the green, it would have been close. It was a bit unlucky but that’s golf. You can’t always win but it’s still been a great week,” said Molinari, who will join brother Francesco in Europe’s Ryder Cup team to face the United States next month.
The 19-year-old Noh was delighted to finish fourth on his own which earned him US$126,700 and widened his lead at the top of the Asian Tour’s Order of Merit to just over US$100,000 from second ranked Marcus Fraser of Australia, who settled for tied 15th place.
“I’m really happy that I managed to score this week. I played nicely and I’m glad I put up some good scores to finish in the top-five. I feel much better now knowing that I’ve got a bit of a lead over Marcus after this week,” said Noh, who took his season’s tally to US$630,616.

The Omega European Masters attracted record crowds of 52,700 this week.

Leading final round scores
263 - Miguel Angel Jimenez (ESP) 67-61-68-67
266 - Edoardo Molinari (ITA) 66-65-68-67
268 - Matteo Manassero (ITA) 64-67-69-68
271 - Noh Seung-yul (KOR) 71-66-67-67
272 - Oliver Wilson (ENG) 68-68-67-69, Charl Schwartzel (RSA) 68-66-70-68, Robert Coles (ENG) 66-71-67-68, Robert-Jan Derksen (NED) 67-68-70-67
273 - Steve Webster (ENG) 66-70-64-73, Peter Lawrie (IRL) 72-69-63-69, Marc Warren (SCO) 69-69-68-67, Mikko Ilonen (FIN) 65-67-75-66
274 - Anthony Wall (ENG) 67-68-69-70, Brett Rumford (AUS) 70-70-70-64
About the Asian Tour
As the official sanctioning body for professional golf in Asia, the Asian Tour leads the development of golf across the region, enhancing the careers of its members while maintaining a commitment to the integrity of the game. The Asian Tour, through its membership of the International Federation of PGA Tours, is the only recognised pan-Asian professional golf tour in Asia.  This unique feature positions the Asian Tour at the pinnacle of professional golf in Asia; providing its events with Official World Ranking status. Tour Partners include J.Lindeberg (Official Apparel Partner), Ricoh (Official Office Solutions Provider), Inetol Headwear (Official Headwear Supplier), Royal Selangor (Official Trophy Supplier), Singha Beer (Official Beer), Pan Pacific (Official Hotel), BlackBerry (Official Mobile) and Srixon (Official Ball).