Miguel Angel Jiménez became the oldest winner in European Tour history as the Spaniard produced a masterclass in approach play to capture the UBS Hong Kong Open for the third time.
A five under par round of 65, which might have been even lower had his putter got going, gave him a 15 under par total at Hong Kong Golf Club and one shot victory over Fredrik Andersson Hed.
Six months older than Des Smyth was when he won the 2001 Madeira Islands Open, the victory was Jiménez’ 19th on The European Tour and 12th since turning 40 – two of which also came in Fanling in 2005 and 2008.
“It’s very nice - I hope it’s not the last one,” joked the Spaniard, who was an assistant Captain at The Ryder Cup in Medinah.
“I really love this place. I love the golf course – it’s a great golf course where you have to control the ball very well, it’s not a matter of distance.”
Jiménez went to the turn in a brilliant four under par 30 despite not holing a putt longer than eight feet – the highlight a brilliant five wood approach to two feet at the ninth.
He then sunk a 12 footer at the tenth, and parred his way in for victory having not carded a single bogey over the last three rounds.
Asked about the secret of his longevity Jiménez, responded: “This is maybe the olive oil in my joints, and the nice Rioja wine and those things keep you fit and flexible.
“The most important thing, I do what I like to do in my life, and golf has given me all of this pleasure. Winning now, at 48, my goodness - 24 years I've been on the Tour.
“I still love it and I think that is fantastic, to love what you're doing, and enjoy yourself, keep fit, keep working myself a little bit and stretching a lot, and that's the main thing to do to compete with the new guns."
The 40 year old Andersson Hed, who made 14 trips to Qualifying School before winning his first European Tour title in Italy two years ago, birdied the second, two-putted the long third, then hit a fine approach to three feet at the next in an early charge.
He then had a hat-trick of birdies from the 11th and 12th, but a 12 foot birdie putt at the last lipped out in what proved to be a decisive moment.
“I don't think I've ever played better than I did today under pressure,” he said. “There were a couple of loose shots on 15 and 16 that I got away with and made pars and then unfortunately couldn't get the birdies in on 17 and 18. It always feels good to finish second in a golf tournament; you know you've done something good.
“It's a pity I couldn't get one of the putts on the last two holes to put a little bit more pressure on him on the last hole. He did fantastic, though, with a perfect tee shot, the perfect second shot and easy two-putt, so all credit to Miguel.”
Australian Marcus Fraser came third and joint fourth were Ireland's Peter Lawrie – sealing his place at the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai in the process – Scot Stephen Gallacher and 19 year old Italian Matteo Manassero, last week's Barclays Singapore Open champion.
New Zealander Michael Campbell, joint overnight leader with Jiménez, fell away to joint eighth.
In the race for places on The 2013 European Tour International Schedule, Australian Andrew Dodt produced a remarkable comeback to keep his hopes alive.
Five over par at the turn, the former Avantha Masters winner looked unlikely to climb from 122nd in The Race to Dubai into the all-important top 119.
He came home in a three under 33, however, and a tie for 37th saw him edge ahead of Richard Bland, Tjaart Van Der Weld, Rhys Davies and Gary Boyd to 117th.
While Dodt looks safe, Bland and Van Der Weld face a nervous afternoon to see if Tommy Fleetwood and Tano Goya can earn enough at the SA Open Championship to edge them out.
And former winner Davies and England’s Boyd now join the likes of Bradley Dredge, Shiv Kapur, Oliver Wilson and Christian Nilsson in returning to Qualifying School next week.
|T1||JIMÉNEZ, Miguel Angel||ESP||18||-12|