Jimenez surges on back nine to win in Hawaii|
Kaupulehu-Kona, HI (SportsNetwork.com) - Despite trailing by as many as four
shots on Sunday, Miguel Angel Jimenez caught fire on the back nine as he fired
a final-round, 6-under 66 to outlast Mark O'Meara and win by one shot at the
season-opening Mitsubishi Electric Championship.
Jimenez, who has now won two times in just three career starts on the
Champions Tour, finished the week at 17-under-par 199 thanks to six birdies
over his final nine holes at Hualalai Golf Club.
O'Meara, who trailed the leaders Jimenez and Rocco Mediate at the start of the
final day, started off on fire and held a 3-shot lead at one point in the
final round, but he could not quite withstand Jimenez's charge. O'Meara carded
an 8-under 64 and finished alone in second at 16-under 200.
Like Jimenez, Couples also shot a 66 and he finished three shots back at 14-
under 202. Mediate, who held the first-round lead and a share of the second-
round advantage with Jimenez, carded a 2-under 70 and ended alone in fourth at
Defending champion Bernhard Langer fired a 5-under 67 to finish tied for fifth
at 12-under 204 with Wes Short, Jr. (66), Colin Montgomerie (68) and Olin
With Jimenez and Mediate deadlocked at minus-11 to start the day, O'Meara
started his way up the leaderboard with birdies on his first two holes,
putting him at minus-10. After a par on three, O'Meara pulled even with
Jimenez and Mediate with another birdie on four.
Both Jimenez and Mediate poured in gains on three to take the lead back before
Jimenez grabbed the outright lead with a birdie on four. With Mediate a shot
back, O'Meara made his fourth birdie on six to join Mediate at 12-under.
Jimenez's big mistake came on No. 5 where he tripped to a double-bogey and
fell completely out of the lead and down to 11-under. In the meantime, O'Meara
drained yet another birdie on seven and Mediate birdied the sixth, putting
them both in the lead at 13-under.
O'Meara continued to play exceptional golf when he chipped in for birdie on
No. 9, giving him the outright advantage, but Mediate came back with a gain of
his own on seven to tie the two once again.
The back-and-forth finally ended when O'Meara drained his seventh birdie on
No. 10, while Mediate tripped to bogeys on eight and nine. Montgomerie was
also making a charge when he made his sixth birdie of the day on 10, pulling
him within one of O'Meara.
Jimenez remained quiet for a while after his double-bogey with four straight
pars from six, but it was just the calm before the storm. Trailing O'Meara by
four when Jimenez made the turn, something clicked and he started off with a
gain on 10 to get him to minus-12, three behind O'Meara.
"I needed to make some birdies," said Jimenez. "I started to make birdies and
that's what you need to do."
O'Meara tripped to his only bogey on 12, but he rebounded with another gain on
13 to take a 2-shot lead over Montgomerie and three over Jimenez, who was at
12-under among others.
Jimenez made it two straight birdies with a gain on 11, moving him to
minus-13. While that was happening, Montgomerie made back-to-back bogeys on 13
and 14, dropping him back to 12-under and he never recovered.
It appeared as if O'Meara had the tournament under control when he took a 3-
shot lead with a birdie on 14, but Jimenez quickly came back with a gain of
his own on 13 to trim the lead to two.
This is when Jimenez really made his move. O'Meara wound up finishing with
four straight pars from 15 to end at minus-16. Jimenez was able to tap in for
birdie on the par-5 14th and he made it three straight gains with another one
on 15 to pull even with O'Meara.
Following a par on 16, Jimenez knocked his approach on 17 about 30 feet from
the hole on the fringe. Having putted so well all week, Jimenez just snuck his
ball in the left side of the cup for a birdie that wound up winning the
tournament. Jimenez stayed calm and made par at the last to claim his title.
"I tried to hit it as close as possible," Jimenez said about his putt on 17.
"I put (the second shot) right on line and then I holed that putt that was
NOTES: Jimenez's first win on the Champions Tour came at the Greater Gwinnett
Championship last year ... Jimenez's other start on tour came at last year's
Senior British Open, where he ended tied for eighth ... O'Meara will be
inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame as a member of the 2015 class ...
With the win, Jimenez earned $309,000 ... The Champions Tour is off next week
before the Allianz Championship in two weeks, where Michael Allen defeated
Duffy Waldorf in a playoff last season.
01/25 22:57:33 ET