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Jimenez grabs KLM Open lead

Zandvoort, The Netherlands (Sports Network) - Miguel Angel Jimenez shot 6- under-par 64 on Thursday to take a 1-shot lead after the opening round of the KLM Open.

Jimenez, 49, is coming off a tie for fifth at the European Masters.

"I played very well last week, so I expected to play well again here," said the 19-time European Tour winner.

Damien McGrane, Robert Allenby, David Howell, Gary Orr, Fabrizio Zanotti and Pablo Larrazabal all carded 5-under 65s at Kennemer Golf & Country Club to grab a share of second place.

"All in all it was a very pleasing day, and definitely gives me a nice platform to build on over the next few days," said the 42-year-old McGrane, who placed sixth in Wales two weeks ago.

Oscar Floren is alone is eighth at 4-under 66, one shot ahead of Dutchman Wil Besseling and nine others.

Jimenez, the oldest winner in European Tour history, got off to a flying start on Thursday, notching birdies on three of his first four holes before coming back to earth with a bogey at the sixth. He rebounded quickly, however, knocking his approach at the par-5 seventh within five feet and tapping in for birdie.

Around the turn, Jimenez stumbled to a bogey at the 10th, but he once again recovered in style, tapping in for birdie at the 12th, then making it two in a row with a 5-footer at the next.

The Spaniard highlighted his round with a hole-out pitch for birdie at No. 16, saved par from 12 feet at the 17th and drained an 8-footer for birdie and the outright lead at the last.

"When the sun came out I started to play my best golf," he said. "Holing my wedge shot from 40 meters on the 16th was very nice, then the birdie on the last was a great way to finish. I'm very happy.

"I love to kick the young boys' butts! I look after myself. People know I love to smoke cigars and drink nice wines, but I also work out and I keep myself very fit, because you have to. I love my job and I love my life, so hopefully I can keep it going for a few years yet."

Zanotti is attempting to retain his European Tour rights for next season, having slipped to No. 152 in the Race to Dubai ranking with five events remaining (the top 110 in the rankings keep their cards).

The 30-year-old Zanotti mixed an eagle with five birdies and a pair of bogeys during his opening round to put himself in contention.

"A few years ago I played well here, so I like Holland," said Zanotti. "Always you have good memories, so you try to remember the good results and good places. Sometimes you get to those places and just play good golf, and that's the case with me here."

NOTES: In this season's final two majors, Jimenez placed 13th at the British Open and 29th at the PGA Championship ... Jimenez became the oldest winner in European Tour history when he captured the Hong Kong Open title in 2012 at the age of 48 years and 318 days ... Matteo Manassero, the top-ranked player in the field at No. 30, shot even-par 70 ... This is the 94th edition of this storied event and is one of just seven tournaments to be played every year since the European Tour's first year in 1972.

09/12 14:37:25 ET


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