Jimenez targets Ryder Cup after record win

09 December 2013 03:46

Miguel Angel Jimenez is taking aim at the Ryder Cup age record after successfully defending the Hong Kong Open to break his own mark as the oldest winner on the European Tour.

The charismatic Spaniard, who turns 50 next month, triumphed in dramatic style at the Hong Kong Golf Club for a record-equalling fourth time Sunday to secure his 20th European Tour title.

Much like the red wine he enjoys, Jimenez keeps getting better with age -- 13 of those 20 victories have come since the popular golfer turned 40 -- and now he's eyeing another record in 2014.

"If I play the way I am playing this week I will be in the Ryder Cup team," he said after winning in the southern Chinese city aged 49 years and 337 days.

"There is one more year to go and now I get this victory here it will help a lot."

Jimenez -- a veteran of four Ryder Cups -- last played in the Europe vs USA matchplay team event at Celtic Manor in Wales in 2010.

He was also a vice-captain to Jose Maria Olazabal when Europe won at the Medinah Country Club in Illinois in 2012.

Jimenez turns 50 on January 5 and if he makes it to Gleneagles in Scotland in September he will become the oldest player to play in the biennial tournament, smashing an almost 90-year record.

Ted Ray from Jersey in the Channel Islands -- who was 50 years, two months and five days old when he competed at the inaugural contest in 1927 -- currently holds the record as the oldest competitor.

"You never know," Jimenez told reporters, enjoying his trademark post-round glass of red after celebrating his win at Fanling with a cigar.

"I would love to be part of the team again. It's a target."

Jimenez's experience shone through Sunday when he superbly birdied the first extra hole of a playoff to defeat unheralded Stuart Manley of Wales and Thailand's Prom Meesawat.

He started the round two shots behind overnight leader Manley but a final round of 66 put him in a three-way playoff for the $1.3 million co-sanctioned European Tour and Asian Tour event.

After splitting the fairway with a perfect drive, Jimenez hit a wedge to eighteen feet where he rolled his putt in for a birdie three as his opponents appeared to be heading for fours.

The win matched the Taiwanese Hsieh Yung-yo's four Hong Kong Open victories in the 1960s and 1970s and Jimenez said he would be back next year to defend his title and bid for a fifth triumph.

"It's a very sweet victory," the Spanish veteran, who also won in 2004 and 2007, said.

"I love this place, I love this golf course, I love the tournament."

Source: AFP