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Jimenez proves age no factor in Hong Kong victory

FANLING, Hong Kong (Reuters) - Miguel Angel Jimenez fired a final round five-under 65 to become the oldest player to record a European Tour victory with a one-stroke triumph at the Hong Kong Open on Sunday.

Miguel Angel Jimenez from Spain hits a shot on the 18th fairway during the final day of the Hong Kong Open Championship November 18, 2012. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

The Spaniard completed the tournament on 15 under par to edge out Sweden’s Fredrik Andersson Hed, who had earlier shot a 64, and secure a hat-trick of Hong Kong titles at the age of 48 years and 318 days.

Jimenez is 284 days older than Irishman Des Smyth was when he won the 2001 Madeira Islands Open and his triumph comes a week after Italy’s Matteo Manassero became the first teenager to claim a hat-trick of European Tour titles at the Singapore Open.

After also winning the Hong Kong title in 2005 and 2008, Jimenez saw off the challenge of joint-overnight leader Michael Campbell when the New Zealander fired a disappointing two-over 72 to slip down into a tie for eighth.

As Jimenez gleefully accepted the Hong Kong Trophy for a third time, he refused to rule out adding further victories to his 19 European Tour triumphs.

“I hope its not the last one,” he said at the victory ceremony. “The way I am playing and handle myself I can be fit to win another one.”

Jimenez admitted the Hong Kong Golf Club, with its tree-lined fairways, was totally suited to his shot-shaping golf game and he made only two bogeys in four rounds.

“Distance does not matter here,” he said. “I controlled the ball well and gave myself many chances for birdie which you have to do here.”

Andersson Hed chased Jimenez all the way to the wire with two runs of three birdies on the trot as he ended the tournament with an impressive six-under-par final round.


However, there was disappointment for Campbell, who had gone into the final round looking to end a winless streak stretching back to 2005 when he won the U.S. Open and World Match Play Championship.

After opening with a birdie, Campbell’s round began to unravel when he dropped a shot at the par-five third hole and his misery was completed when he made a double-bogey after driving into trees at finding the water on the 18th.

Third place went to Australia’s Marcus Fraser after he matched Anderson Hed’s 64 to finish three shots behind the leader.

Stephen Gallacher of Scotland, Peter Lawrie of Ireland and Manassero tied for fourth place, a further shot adrift.

As the tournament was drawing to a close, the European Tour announced that the Hong Kong Open would not be included in the 2013 Race to Dubai schedule.

A change of date to December next year would see it as one of the first tournaments on the 2014 tour calendar.

It also emerged that American John Daly will face disciplinary action after throwing his putter across the 11th green following a double-bogey there in Friday’s second round. (Editing by John O’Brien)