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Jimenez wins Champions Tour debut
Duluth, GA (SportsNetwork.com) - Miguel Angel Jimenez closed with a 5-under 67 on Sunday to win the Greater Gwinnett Championship.
Jimenez, who was making his Champions Tour debut, finished at 14-under 202.
"Well, it means a lot. This is the kind of game I've been playing and I played very well. Now, I don't know what to do. Do I continue to play on this Champions Tour or go back to Europe? But I know you know what I want to do. I need to finish playing for the Ryder Cup," said Jimenez, who wants to qualify for this year's European Ryder Cup team. "I feel great. It means a lot because it shows I can contend with a player like Bernhard Langer and Fred Couples and Jay Haas. These guys are too competitive."
Langer, last year's winner, posted a 4-under 68 to take second place at minus-12, while Haas also closed with a 5-under 67 to end alone in third at 10-under 206 at the TPC Sugarloaf.
Couples managed a 2-under 70 to end alone in fourth at minus-9.
Steve Pate (70), David Frost (69) and Duffy Waldorf (70) shared fifth place at 7-under 209.
Jimenez opened the final round with five pars in a row and was joined in the lead by Langer, who birdied the par-5 fourth from about 25 feet out. They both birdied the par-5 sixth to remain tied at 10-under par.
At the par-3 eighth, Jimenez dropped his tee shot inside four feet and he converted that for birdie. Langer missed the green and failed to get up and down for par as he fell two back.
Jimenez and Langer both got up and down for birdie on the par-5 10th. The Spaniard pushed his lead to three with a 4-foot birdie putt at the 12th. Jimenez made it two in a row as he birdied the 13th.
Langer matched that birdie to stay three behind, but it wasn't enough.
Jimenez, who was playing this week on a sponsors invitation, cruised home with five straight pars to close out his first Champions Tour title.
Langer parred four in a row before making birdie at the last to end two back.
"Well, overall I played really solid, had a number of opportunities, just couldn't make any putts today. I misread some putts and just couldn't figure it out. A couple of them had the wrong speed and several of them had the wrong line," Langer admitted. "I had some opportunities, as I said, but couldn't make the putts. And he played very, very solid all day or certainly the last, you know, 12 holes or something like that."
NOTES: Jimenez earned $270,000 for the win ... He was the 18th player in Champions Tour history to win in his tour debut, but first since Bruce Fleisher in 1999 to go wire-to-wire for the victory ... Jimenez played the final 32 holes bogey-free ... Along with Jeff Maggert's win at the last Champions Tour event, they were the first back-to-back winners making their tour debuts since 1980 ... Jimenez became the first player to win a European Tour and a Champions Tour event in the same season ... After a week off, Esteban Toledo will defend his title at the Insperity Invitational in Texas.
04/20 20:21:06 ET
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