Miguel Angel Jimenez (Getty Images)
Miguel Angel Jiménez was on course to become the oldest winner in European Tour history as the Spaniard opened up a two shot lead during the final round of the UBS Hong Kong Open.
The 48 year old went to the turn in a four under par 30, that despite not holing a putt longer than eight feet, then sunk a 12 footer at the tenth to reach 15 under par at Hong Kong Golf Club.
With eight holes remaining that left him two clear of Swede Fredrik Andersson Hed and Italian teenager Matteo Manassero – who in contrast is already the youngest European Tour winner.
Jiménez has picked up 11 of his 18 European Tour titles since turning 40, but the last of those was two years ago in Switzerland.
However, a masterclass in approach play put him on course for a victory that would see him surpass Des Smyth who was nine months younger when he lifted the Madeira Islands Open in 2001.
After missing makeable chances at the first and second, The Ryder Cup Vice captain made a five foot birdie at the third.
Another chance went begging at the sixth before a run of four straight gains; the highlight of which was a utility club approach to two feet at the ninth.
The 40 year old Swede 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 back-to-back birdies at the 11th and 12th to be five under for his round and only two back.
Manassero, the only teenager with three European Tour titles after last week’s victory in Singapore, holed an eight foot chance at the second and then from 25 feet at the fifth, with birdies at the tenth and 11th keeping him in contention for consecutive wins.
New Zealand’s Michael Campbell, the joint overnight leader with Jiménez, followed a ten foot birdie at the first with a bogey at the third after pitching through the green then leaving his return chip short, but remained tied for fourth with Australian Marcus Fraser on 11 under.