Miguel Angel Jiménez extended his own record as The European Tour’s oldest winner by retaining his Hong Kong Open title after a play-off with Stuart Manley and Prom Meesawat.
On a turbulent final day the Spaniard birdied the first extra hole with a superb putt from 18 feet to capture his 20th European Tour title a few weeks before his 50th birthday.
“I love this place, I love this golf course, I love the tournament,” said Jiménez, who signed for a closing 66 as he captured the event for a record fourth time.
“I played so well and I holed some putts, and the one in the play-off gave me victory.”
With 13 victories since turning 40, Jiménez now has his sights set on becoming Europe’s oldest Ryder Cup player next year.
The last of his four Ryder Cup appearances came at Celtic Manor in 2010. He turns 50 on January 5 and would comfortably beat the record of Ted Ray - who was 50 years, two months and five days old at the inaugural contest in 1927 - if he can qualify for Gleneagles next September.
"If I play the way I am playing this week I will be in the Ryder Cup Team," he added. "There is one more year to go and now I get this victory here it will help a lot. You never know; I would love to be part of the team again."
Thailand’s Meesawat had looked set for his first European Tour victory when he eagled the third from 20 feet to take the lead and went three clear with another from 50 feet at the long 13th.
However, the 29 year old bogeyed the next just as Jiménez was recording consecutive birdies.
Meesawat saved par from 30 feet at the 16th and that was enough to go back in front as Jiménez three-putted the hole behind, only for Europe’s EURASIA Cup Captain to birdie the 17th from ten feet.
Manley had started the day with one shot lead, but that was eradicated immediately when he hit a wild tee shot at the first and bogeyed.
The Welshman, seeking a first European Tour title, has had an eventful month since successfully coming through his tenth visit to Qualifying School – notably following a hole-in-one with an 11 at the next hole in last month’s ISPS HANDA World Cup of Golf.
The 34 year old’s rollercoaster continued as he had four bogeys and four birdies in his first ten holes, but needing to pick up a shot over the last three holes to make the play-off his chance seemed to have passed when birdie putts at the 16th and 17th slid by and he then missed the green at the last.
However, Manley responded with a brilliant chip-in for a 68, only to then hit the hospitality tent with his approach on the first extra hole.
Meesawat, who had completed a closing 65, had also missed the green, but although both recovered well Jiménez rendered their par putts irrelevant.
“It's been an amazing week for me,” said Meesawat. “I didn't feel any disappointment in the play-off. I did my best this week, and it’s my best finish on this golf course.”
Manley added: “I'm pretty pleased. Obviously I’m disappointed to lose in a play-off with a poor shot, but for Miguel to make birdie is pretty special. It was pretty special to make three myself to get into the play-off. So I can take a lot from the week.
“This week will give me a lot of confidence. It's money on the board for The Race to Dubai and everything feels very positive.”
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