Golf: Lucky breaks for Jimenez

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SPAIN'S DEFENDING champion, Miguel Angel Jimenez, rode his luck yesterday to retain his Turespana Masters title by four strokes. The 35- year-old, who honed his game on the Parador course here, twice pitched in from bunkers and had his ball stopped from going into the water by a spectator's legs in securing his fifth European Tour title.

Jimenez looked to be cruising to victory after extending his five-shot overnight lead to seven by the sixth. But his out-of-bounds drive on the seventh allowed the field to close in on him and then Jimenez needed some luck to help him to the final round, five-under-par 67 which took him to 24-under-par 264, four better than young Briton Steve Webster.

His victory carried him to second on the Ryder Cup table as Jimenez achieved the first successful defence of a title for two years on the European Tour.

In Coral Springs, Florida, PGA Tour rookie Eric Booker defied the gusty conditions to hold on to a two-stroke lead after three rounds of the Honda Classic.

After consecutive rounds in the 60s, Booker carded an even-par 72 for a 54-hole total of 203 to lead fellow American Tommy Tolles, who fired a 69, and Australian Bradley Hughes (70).

Reigning PGA Player of the Year Mark O'Meara, a Florida resident, was tied on 207 with Harrison Frazar, whose 66 was one of the best rounds of the day.

Scotland's Colin Montgomerie carded a 72 to lie 11 shots off the pace while Sandy Lyle was five strokes further adrift after a 76.

Scotland's Catriona Matthew fired a seven-under-par 65 to leave her just three shots behind American pacesetter Dale Eggeling after three rounds of the LPGA Welch's/Circle K Championship in Tucson, Arizona.

Scores, Digest, page 9