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Jimenez Becomes Oldest Winner in European Tour History


Miguel Angel Jimenez fired a closing 5-under 65 to win the Hong Kong Open. The $2.7 million European Tour event started Thursday at Hong Kong Golf Club.

At 48 years and 318 days, the dashing Spaniard known for his ponytail and cigar-smoking broke the previous record of Ireland's Des Smyth, who was 48 years and 34 days when he won the 2001 Madeira Islands Open, to become the oldest winner in European Tour history.

After two birdies through six holes, Jimenez bogeyed Nos. 9 and 10 to get to level-par at the start of the inward half. But the Malaga native steadied himself and carded five birdies - including the last two holes - the rest of the way to finish at 15-under 262, a stroke ahead of Sweden's fast-closing Fredrik Andersson Hed, who shot a 64.

The victory was the 19th of Jimenez's stellar career on the European Tour.

"Winning now, and becoming the oldest winner on the tour at 48, my goodness," Jimenez told reporters. "Twenty-four years I've been on the tour, I've been around a long time.

"But I still love it and that is fantastic, to love what you're doing, and enjoy yourself, keep fit, keep working myself a little bit and stretching a lot. And that's the main thing to do to keep the body to compete with the new guns."

Alone in third at 268 was Aussie Marcus Fraser (64), while four strokes back of Jimenez were Scotland's Stephen Gallacher (65), Ireland's Peter Lawrie (66), and Italian teenager Matteo Manassero (68). Manassero was looking for two titles in a row following his win in last week's Singapore Open.

American Matt Kuchar closed with a 67 to end up in seventh at 271, while another stroke back were Spain's Pablo Larrazabal (68) and Jimenez's fellow 54-hole co-leader, Michael Campbell of New Zealand, who shot a 2-over 72 Sunday.

As is his fashion following a win, Jimenez celebrated with a glass of wine and a cigar. "There is maybe olive oil in my joints, and drinking the nice Rioja wine and those things keeps me fit and flexible," he said. "Well, the most important thing, I do what I like to do in my life and golf has given me all of this pleasure."

John Daly drew the ire of European Tour officials after throwing his putter in Friday's second round; he missed the cut after posting scores of 72 and 75. Daly said his anger was in response to fans using cell phones and cameras at inappropriate times.

The Tour will take those situations into account, but it will nonetheless fine Daly, who plans to play regularly on the European Tour, an undetermined amount. "Yes, the circumstances regarding crowd manners and behavior will be considered, but when it all boils down there is still no excuse for throwing his putter," tournament director Mickael Ericsson said.

For all the scores, visit http://www.europeantour.com/europeantour/season=2012/tournamentid=2012090/leaderboard/index.html?showLeaderboard=Y.