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Jimenez enjoys timely victory

Miguel Angel Jimenez's Ryder Cup record is only just better than that of Padraig Harrington -- one win in his last 10 games compared to the Irishman's none in his last nine.

But at least the 46-year-old has given his confidence a timely lift by becoming the first European player to win three times this season.

Jimenez beat Celtic Manor team-mate Edoardo Molinari by three as he added the Omega European Masters title in Switzerland to his Dubai Desert Classic and French Open victories.

The week also saw the Spaniard shoot a career-low 61 in the second round -- and considering that his European Tour career spans 27 years and contains 535 events it was some performance.

What meant most to the Spaniard, though, was that he had finally triumphed at Crans-sur-Sierre at his 22nd attempt.

"It's very special -- this is the tournament I've played more than any one," said Jimenez, now the eighth oldest winner in the circuit's history.

He and Molinari were the only two members of Colin Montgomerie's side at the event and for them to finish first and second was another boost.

Wild card pick Molinari, of course, won the Johnnie Walker Championship a week earlier and since the start of last month Ross Fisher, Martin Kaymer and Peter Hanson have all got their hands on trophies as well.

There are still some concerns, though -- chief among them Lee Westwood's calf injury, which has kept him out of action since August 6 and is not expected to be tested in a tournament until the match against the Americans on October 1-3.

Harrington is the other main worry after missing the cut at the Deutsche Bank Championship in Boston a week after Montgomerie preferred him to world number eight Paul Casey and double US Tour winner Justin Rose.


The Dubliner is now mulling over a decision on whether to play the Irish PGA Championship at Seapoint from September 23 to 26, or the Vivendi Cup in Paris on the same weekend to get some game-time ahead of the Ryder Cup.

Back in Europe the other big story of last week was the sensational display by 17-year-old Matteo Manassero.

Last year's British amateur champion was playing just the sixth Tour event of his professional career and a cheque for more than £102,000 secures his card for next season.

With brothers Edoardo and Francesco Molinari both making the Ryder Cup team, Italian golf has never had it so good.

Manassero is also in the field now for this week's KLM Open in the Netherlands, an event which sees Kaymer play for the first time since he won the US PGA Championship.