Miguel Angel Jimenez extended his own record as the European Tour’s oldest-ever winner by retaining his Hong Kong Open title after a play-off with Wales’ Stuart Manley and Prom Meesawat of Thailand.
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 shy of 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 will 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 somehow make Europe captain Paul McGinley’s side that plays the USA at Gleneagles next September.
"If I play the way I played this week, I will be in the Ryder Cup team" - Miguel Angel Jimenez
"If I play the way I played this week, I will be in the Ryder Cup team," said Jimenez. "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."
Jimenez had started the final round one shot behind 54-hole leader Manley, the Welshman having endured perhaps the most eventful month of his career.
After securing a card for this season after his tenth visit to Qualifying School, Manley represented his country in the ISPS Handa World Cup, where he had a hole-in-one – which he immediately followed up with an 11.
Victory in Hong Kong would have given the 34-year-old a first victory on the tour and the cushion of a two-year exemption but, even though he came up agonisingly short, he was able to appreciate a solid week’s work.
“I'm pretty pleased, “ said Manley. “Obviously, I’m disappointed to lose in a play-off but it was pretty special to get into the play-off, so I can take a lot from the week.”
Jimenez: Getting better with age
Miguel Angel Jimenez re-wrote his own record as the European Tour's oldest ever winner by winning in Hong Kong for the fourth time. The Spaniard claimed that title when he won the same event last year, replacing Des Smyth, who won the 2001 Madeira Islands Open aged 48 and 34 days.