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Jimenez wins playoff for Open de Espana title
Girona, Spain (SportsNetwork.com) - Miguel Angel Jimenez parred the first playoff hole Sunday to defeat Thomas Pieters and Richard Green and win the Open de Espana.
Jimenez, who collected his second victory on the European Tour this season and 21st title on tour overall, carded a 1-over 73 during his final round at PGA Golf de Catalunya to finish the tournament at 4-under-par 284.
"All the victories are special, all are unique, some of them give you more money, some less, but all of them are important. You play to win and when you make it you have to appreciate it," Jimenez said about his latest win.
Pieters, the third-round leader, posted a 3-over 75 and Green managed an even- par 72 to meet Jimenez atop the leaderboard.
Joost Luiten (72) finished in fourth place at 3-under, while Maximilian Kieffer (73) and Richie Ramsay (74) shared fifth at 2-under 286.
Darren Fichardt (71), Felipe Aguilar (74), Alejandro Canizares (70), Chris Wood (75) and Gareth Maybin (71) tied for seventh at minus-2.
Jimenez, Pieters and Green returned to the 18th hole for the playoff, and all three found trouble off the tee.
After they all failed to find the green with their approaches, Jimenez had the best third shot of the group as his chip settled about a foot from the hole.
Green and Pieters hit their third shots to about 10 feet from the cup and after Green's par effort rolled by the left edge of the hole and Pieters' putt did a 180-degree turn around the edge of the cup before popping out, Jimenez converted his short par for the win.
"It's amazing," said Jimenez. "It's my 21st victory on the European Tour and 27 times I played the Spanish Open. I have been close a couple of times. Today it was very tough out there, but I got it in the end."
Pieters had earlier entered the final round with a 2-stroke lead, but Jimenez quickly cut into that advantage with a birdie at the first.
They both bogeyed the second to remain a shot apart. Jimenez's bogey dropped him to 5-under and into a tie for second with Green, who birdied the second to reach minus-5.
A 2-shot swing at the third moved Jimenez into the lead as he birdied the hole to move to 6-under and Pieters dropped a shot to fall to minus-5.
Pieters fell further behind with a bogey at the fourth.
After Jimenez pulled two strokes clear of Green with a birdie at the sixth, Green recorded gains at the sixth and seventh after a bogey at the fifth to pull within a shot of Jimenez at 6-under.
Jimenez then lost sole possession of first place with a bogey at the ninth, and he tripped to another bogey at the 10th to hand the outright lead to Green.
But Green returned the favor with a disastrous 14th that saw him post a triple-bogey 7 to fall to 3-under and give Jimenez a 2-shot lead as Pieters, who had traded a birdie at the seventh with a bogey at the eighth to remain at 4-under, also bogeyed the 14th to drop to minus-3.
Pieters, however, quickly atoned for his gaffe with an eagle at the 15th to meet Jimenez atop the leaderboard.
Both Jimenez and Pieters then made a mess of the 17th en route to a pair of bogeys, dropping them to 4-under and into a tie with Green moments before he capped a run of three straight pars from the 16th to claim the clubhouse lead.
Jimenez and Pieters each missed lengthy birdie putts at the 18th to force the three-man playoff with Green.
NOTES: Jimenez also won his Champions Tour debut at the Greater Gwinnett Championship this year ... Jimenez improved to 5-3 in playoffs, while Green fell to 2-2 and Pieters 0-1 ... Jimenez broke his own record as the oldest player to win on the European Tour at 50 years and 133 days old ... Bernd Wiesberger recorded a hole-in-one at the 11th and Gareth Maybin had an ace at the eighth Sunday.
05/18 13:36:27 ET