Jimenez and Garcia sparkle in Ryder Cup warm-up

Miguel Angel Jimenez insisted he would not allow thoughts of the Ryder Cup get in the way of him winning his fifth tournament this year with the Omega European Masters.

The Spaniard romped to victory in the BMW International Open last Sunday and kept that momentum going to card a faultless opening round six-under-par 65 at the spectacular Crans-sur-Sierre course in the mountains of Switzerland to lead going into day two.

The 40-year-old man from Malaga illustrated just how crucial he is to Europe's bid to retain the Ryder Cup at Oakland Hills next month by establishing an early four-shot advantage over reigning champion Ernie Els, who was attempting to make history.

The South African has showed so many times in the past that he should never be written off, especially at this early stage, and Jimenez cannot afford to look ahead.

"I don't care at the moment even for the Ryder Cup," he said.

"I care for the Omega European Masters as we are here.

"I am enjoying myself here and I don't want to be looking to the future.

"I am relaxed and strong and if you look ahead then it can all go wrong.

"I am not looking to see what those around me are doing either.

"I am just concentrating on this tournament and that's the way I'll win it.

"I try and play hole by hole and shot by shot.

"I want to win and I feel that everything is right at the moment."

Big pre-tournament favourite Els was bidding to emulate the feat of Seve Ballesteros over a quarter of a century ago when he defended the European Masters crown.

But the 'Big Easy' took time to get going and found himself two-over-par at the turn having started the back nine, bogeying the par-fourth 10th and par-three 13th.

Els though turned things round quickly at the turn and birdied four of the next seven and despite bogeying the eighth, he again responded with another birdie to finish his round.

But while Jimenez and fellow countryman Sergio Garcia might be Ryder Cup team-mates, they could be rivals for glory this week after the talented Garcia thrilled the crowd on his way to a five-under-par 66 to sit just a shot behind.

The 24-year-old from Castellon enjoyed the afternoon sunshine grabbing seven birdies - and did not let two bogies and a few wayward moments trouble him too much.

Garcia is looking ahead to the showdown with Hal Sutton's men in Detroit and is hoping Jimenez can keep his magic flowing until then.

Garcia, who has opted to rest next week and miss out on the German Masters, insisted: "He is playing well and looking forward to playing at the Ryder Cup and hopefully he will keep playing like that.

"Hopefully he will take a nice rest and and get ready for it.

"The Ryder Cup takes a lot out of you and you don't want to be tired.

"When you are in contention it takes it out of you - if you keep on drinking the bottle will go empty.

"But there is no doubt that he is playing some great golf and it's good to see that.

"Some people don't give him the credit but we all know how good a player he is."

Garcia joined Frenchman Marc Farry on five-under-par and they shared second place with Swede Peter Hedblom and later in the day England's Peter Baker.

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
Attenborough with the primates
tvWhy BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
News
Campbell: ‘Sometimes you have to be economical with the truth’
newsFormer spin doctor says MPs should study tactics of leading sports figures like José Mourinho
Sport
football
Life and Style
Agretti is often compared to its relative, samphire, though is closer in taste to spinach
food + drink
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Kelly Osbourne will play a flight attendant in Sharknado 2
people
News
Down-to-earth: Winstone isn't one for considering his 'legacy'
people
News
The dress can be seen in different colours
i100
Sport
Wes Brown is sent-off
football
Voices
Lance Corporal Joshua Leakey VC
voicesBeware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Life and Style
Alexander McQueen's AW 2009/10 collection during Paris Fashion Week
fashionMeet the collaborators who helped create the late designer’s notorious spectacles
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003
Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Alexander McQueen: The catwalk was a stage for the designer's astonishing and troubling vision

Alexander McQueen's astonishing vision

Ahead of a major retrospective, Alexander Fury talks to the collaborators who helped create the late designer's notorious spectacle
New BBC series savours half a century of food in Britain, from Vesta curries to nouvelle cuisine

Dinner through the decades

A new BBC series challenged Brandon Robshaw and his family to eat their way from the 1950s to the 1990s
Philippa Perry interview: The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course

Philippa Perry interview

The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef recreates the exoticism of the Indonesian stir-fry

Bill Granger's Indonesian stir-fry recipes

Our chef was inspired by the south-east Asian cuisine he encountered as a teenager
Chelsea vs Tottenham: Harry Kane was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope

Harry Kane interview

The striker was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope
The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?