Tuesday 23 January 2018

Masterful Jimenez reaches Swiss summit

Bernie McGuire in Crans Montana

Miguel Angel Jimenez yesterday became the first player this year to win three Race to Dubai titles after keeping Ryder Cup rookie Edoardo Molinari at arm's length to win the European Masters.

Jimenez -- winner by three strokes with a final-round 67 for a 21-under-par total -- was showered with champagne by fellow Spaniard Pablo Larrazabal after finally climbing to the Swiss summit following 21 unsuccessful prior attempts since contesting the event first in 1989, when mentor Seve Ballesteros came out on top.

"This is my second Omega win this year, so I am always on time and I never get late," said Jimenez.

"But to me it's amazing as I came on the Tour in 1989 and started competing with Seve, Faldo, Woosnam, Langer, Torrance and all the cream of the European Tour.

"Then I have seen the Darren Clarkes, the Bjorns and the Westwoods coming and I competed with them. And now it's the McIlroys and the Manasseros and new youngsters, so I will stay here as long as I can continue to enjoy the game and still have the passion.

"So I wouldn't mind if another generation came along. I still love the game. I've never had an injury. I feel good and I feel well and I am like a good bottle of Rioja wine, as I am getting better with age."

Molinari ended with a 67 for a 18-under-par tally as the 29-year-old Turin player claimed his sixth top-10 this year to lift him to sixth and two ahead of Jimenez on the Race to Dubai list in his rookie season.

"I am pretty pleased as it's been a very rewarding two weeks, but I now need a rest before the Ryder Cup," he said.

And there's still further good news for Italian golf with 17-year-old sensation Matteo Manassero wrapping up his 2011 Tour card in just his sixth event on the main Tour after a closing-round 68 handed him third place at 16-under par.

Last year's British Amateur champion collected €125,200 with Castlerock's Ryan McGuigan on the bag to move to 89th on the money list. "That's mission accomplished," said Manassero.

Peter Lawrie secured his second top-10 finish in three weeks -- despite a missed birdie putt from 12-feet at the last costing him a share of fifth place.

Lawrie carded a final-round 69 to share ninth place on 11-under par that earned him €39,000 and up one place to 44th on the money list.

"It's just a pity I missed that putt on 18 as that would have been a share of fifth but overall I am delighted," he said.

"I only just made the cut on Friday night right on the mark so finishing in the top 10 is good."

Meanwhile, Darren Clarke carded a closing round of 70 to finish in 15th place on nine-under par while fellow Ulstermen Gareth Maybin also signed for a 70 for a six-under-par score and Michael Hoey ended with a 67 and a share of 54th place at level-par.

Irish Independent

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