Friday 22 September 2017

Jimenez rolls back years with vintage Swiss show

Spain's Miguel Angel Jimenez. Photo: PA
Spain's Miguel Angel Jimenez. Photo: PA

William S Callahan

Miguel Angel Jimenez has his own record as the oldest winner in European Tour history in his sights after making a flying start to the Omega European Masters.

Jimenez, who won the Open de Espana in 2014 at the age of 50 years and 133 days, has played just three European Tour events in 2017 and spends most of his time playing on the seniors circuit.

But the 53-year-old Spaniard rolled back the years with seven birdies and a solitary bogey at Crans-sur-Sierre in Switzerland to card an opening six-under-par 64 and share the lead with England's Tyrrell Hatton and 2016 runner-up Scott Hend of Australia.

"Anything can happen," Jimenez told Sky Sports when asked about his prospects of winning on Sunday. "I'm playing good and feeling good.

"When you hit it good nothing is difficult. I played well, especially my irons to the flag were very good.

"I always enjoyed coming here. It's an amazing place and my 28th time coming here. I only missed one year because it clashed with the Senior British Open (in 2015)."

Paul Dunne, who is flying the Irish flag in Crans Montana, opened with a solid one-under-par 69.

Dunne, who shot four birdies and three bogeys, has an early tee-time this morning and will hope to make up ground on the leaders, with Jimenez among the afternoon starters.

Lee Westwood carded a one-over-par 71 on his 500th European Tour start, while Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn was forced to withdraw after 15 holes due to an ongoing foot injury.

Meanwhile, Michelle Wie has withdrawn from The Evian Championship as she continues to recover from surgery to remove her appendix. The Evian Championship, the final Major of the LPGA Tour season, begins next Thursday in France.

Omega European Masters,

Live, Sky Sports Golf, 10.30am

Irish Independent

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