Miguel Angel Jimenez has become the European Tour's oldest-ever winner – after a week which could have seen him fall outside the world's top 100 for the first time in nine years.
With a cigar in one hand and glass of red wine in the other, the 48-year-old Spaniard toasted a one-stroke victory over Swede Fredrik Andersson Hed at the Hong Kong Open yesterday.
Jimenez is only five weeks away from his 49th birthday, but he did not have a single bogey in the last three rounds and closed with a superb 65 for his third win at the event – all since he turned 40.
"It's always an honour to make records and I hope it's not the last one," said the Malaga golfer, nine months older than Ireland's Des Smyth was when he lifted the 2001 Madeira Islands Open. "I really love this place. You have to control the ball very well – it's not a matter of distance – and I played very solid all through the week."
He now has 19 Tour victories to his name, and there are only 10 players who have ever won more on the circuit than the former caddie, who turned professional in 1982 and had to wait a decade for his first success. He was Seve Ballesteros's vice-captain at the 1997 Ryder Cup, went on to win four caps and in September was one of Jose Maria Olazabal's assistants for the victory in Chicago.
One of Jimenez's team-mates for that triumph, Luke Donald, is back ahead of Tiger Woods as world No 2 after his own victory yesterday – by five strokes at the Dunlop Phoenix tournament in Japan.
Donald fired a closing 68 to finish the week 16 under par, with Japan's Hideki Matsuyama second after a final round 67 and compatriot Koumei Oda's 64 lifting him to third spot.
Four clear with a round to go, Donald's first win since the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth in May never looked in doubt after he birdied the fourth, eagled the seventh and birdied the eighth. He did bogey the next two, but then came seven pars and a birdie on the long 18th.
Ian Poulter could not complete a hat-trick of successes for the European team, however. Adam Scott edged out Poulter in a final day shoot-out to break a 15-month tournament drought and claim his first gold jacket at the Australian Masters in Melbourne.
Scott took on one of the fiercest competitors in world golf and beat him in a head-to-head battle at Kingston Heath, with the world No 5 overturning a one-shot deficit on the final day to win by four strokes at 17 under par. The Australian's final round score of 67 was five shots better than Poulter's, with the pair finishing well clear of the rest of the field.
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