History for Jimenez after vintage show
THREE European golf stars were heading to the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai today on the back of victories over the weekend - but pride of place has to go to Miguel Angel Jimenez.
The 48-year-old Spaniard goes into the record books as the oldest-ever winner of a European Tour title after winning his third Hong Kong Open.
It came while Luke Donald was going back to world number two by taking the Dunlop Phoenix tournament in Japan and hours later Henrik Stenson made it a hat-trick by capturing the South African Open.
Jimenez beat Fredrik Andersson Hed by one shot at Fanling, closing with a 65 to the Swede's 64 and playing the last three rounds without a single bogey.
It was the Malaga player's 19th Tour title and 12th since he turned 40.
"This is maybe the olive oil in my joints and the nice Rioja wine - those things keep yourself fit and flexible, no?" he said. "I do what I like to do in my life and golf has given me all of this pleasure. My goodness, 24 years I've been on the tour, but I still love it and I keep stretching a lot - that's the main thing to keep the body to compete with the new guns.
"There is a lot of tension out there, but I was very calm on the course. Everything is under control. At 48 this is not the end of my career. I'm still playing well and I still win tournaments."
Donald beat Japan's Hideki Matsuyama by five for his first win since his defence of the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth in May, while Stenson ended three-and-a-half years without a victory when he beat south African George Coetzee by three at Serengeti.
The circuit's top 60 compete this week, and one of those 60 is Peter Lawrie, after he grabbed a share of fourth place at the UBS Hong Kong Open.
The Dubliner performed with aplomb under intense pressure at Fanling. His fourth place at May's BMW Championship yielded €225,000, nearly four times more than yesterday's €66,411 cheque, but he had more to lose in Hong Kong.
Lawrie lay 60th in the Race to Dubai after missing the cut in Singapore, and only the top 60 go to this week's $8m European finale.
After opening with two solid 68s, Lawrie propelled himself into contention with Saturday's three-under 67. He added an impressive 66 yesterday to post four rounds in the 60s for the first time in 19 months.
"I haven't missed (the season's climax) since the Race to Dubai started in 2009, so it would have been very disappointing not to make it now," he explained.
"But I'm really happy with the way I handled myself," added Lawrie, now 54th in the money list.
Six Irish will play in Dubai - Lawrie, Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell, Shane Lowry, Michael Hoey and Pádraig Harrington.
After scraping through the halfway cut at the Talisker Aussie Masters, McDowell played Royal Kingston Heath in six-under (67, 71) to finish tied eighth. Winner Adam Scott left Ian Poulter five behind with his closing 67.