TUCSON, ARIZONA (AP) – Miguel Angel Jiménez won the PGA Tour Champions season opener in Hawaii after surviving a playoff. By comparison, his victory in Tucson, Arizona, on Sunday was a walk in the park.
That’ll do it for a guy with two aces in 43 holes.
Jiménez struck a 6-iron from 188 yards on the 14th hole to extend his lead to three strokes in the final round. Jiménez had his second hole-in-one of the week and, more significantly, a five-shot lead with four holes to go in the Cologuard Classic after four bounces and a clanged flagstick.
“I’ve already had 13 aces in tournaments, but this is the first time I’ve had two in the same competition.” You never consider it. “You want to hit a nice shot that is as close to the target as feasible,” he explained.
Jiménez concluded his round par-par-par-par for a final-round 65 and a total of 18 under par, four shots better than the rest of the field. At 14 under, Bernhard Langer and Woody Austin tied for second place.
“No wonder he’s 18 under,” Langer said after learning of Jiménez’s second ace in three days following his round.
Jerry Kelly, a Cologuard Ambassador, started the fourth round tied for second, two strokes behind Jimenez. After opening with a 68-67, he ended solo fourth with a 70. At 10 under, Scott Parel finished alone in fifth place.
On the 196-yard 7th hole, Jiménez’s ace came off the face of his Ping 6-iron as well. A year ago, Tim Petrovic had a pair of aces, but Jiménez used his 1s to win his 12th Champions title. Jiménez has 10 aces on the DP World (previously European) Tour, and these were his 12th and 13th in competition.
Jiménez started birdie-eagle and was five under par through eight holes before his second ball on the ninth hole clipped a tree. Jiménez missed his par putt after a third shot to roughly eight feet, but he still finished at 15 under par, four shots ahead of Langer and Jeff Sluman. After Langer and Woody Austin both birdied the 12th, the lead was down to three, but Jiménez’s ace on No. 14 effectively sealed the victory.
Jiménez won $270,000 for his victory. So far this season, he’s made $668,795 in earnings. Loren Roberts, who won two of the first three Champions events to open a season in 2006, was the last golfer to do so.
“Winning any tournament is incredible to me,” Jiménez stated. “Winning in Tucson is fantastic because, as I previously stated, it demonstrates that you are in good shape and looking forward.” Winning any tournament is extremely important to me.”
Sluman, who shared the lead after the opening round and was tied for second after 36 holes, was looking to snap a 2,821-day winless streak that began in 2014 when he won the Big Cedar Lodge Legends of Golf alongside Fred Funk.
Langer was coming off a win at the Chubb Classic a week ago, his 43rd on the senior tour. He’s two wins away from matching Hale Irwin’s Champions circuit record. Next week, Langer will compete in the Hoag Classic in Newport Beach, California, for another chance to close the lead to one.
“It’s been a long time since we’ve played golf together.” Together they competed in the Ryder Cup. “He was a player when I was captain, in 2004 at Oakland Hills,” Langer remarked of Jimenez. “He’s a Spaniard, and I’m a German.” We’ve been competing in the same tournaments for, like, I don’t know, 40 years or more. Yes, he’s a one-of-a-kind character, and we’ve shared some memorable moments.”
Other important figures in the field include:
Jim Furyk shot 74-74-69 to finish T-25, just 15 miles from his alma mater, the University of Arizona.
Omar Uresti, one of four players who qualified on Tuesday, shot 73-70-71 for a T-33 result.
John Daly, who was in the competition on a sponsor exemption, finished T-66 with rounds of 78-71-73.
David Duval, a Champions Tour rookie who won the Tucson Chrysler Classic on the PGA Tour in 1998 on this same course, finished T-69.
Annika Sorenstam, a former University of Arizona volleyball player, and Larry Fitzgerald, a former Arizona Cardinals wide receiver, teamed together to win the Celebrity Challenge on Saturday.
Sorenstam finished second in the celebrity division at the LPGA’s season-opening Tournament of Champions in January. She has committed to the U.S. Women’s Open in June. Sorenstam hit a birdie putt on 18 to send her and Fitzgerald to 4 under in the best-ball style in Tucson, defeating the duo of country music sensation Jake Owen and former NFL running back Eric Dickerson by two strokes.