Thu, 24 Sep 2020

Jimenez outlasts Els in playoff to win Mitsubishi

Field Level Media
19 Jan 2020, 14:40 GMT+10

Spain's Miguel Angel Jimenez held off South Africa's Ernie Els, who was making his Champions Tour debut, in a playoff on Saturday to claim victory at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai Golf Course in Kona, Hawaii.

Jimenez sunk a 14-foot birdie putt on the second playoff hole, the par-4 18th, to clinch the victory, after Els' birdie attempt from more than 20 feet narrowly slid past the cup. The victory marked Jimenez's ninth on the Champions Tour and his second at the 54-hole event, which he also won in 2015.

The third time playing the 18th hole proved to be the charm for Jimenez, who left a 16-foot birdie putt in regulation just shy, then did the same from around 30 feet on the first playoff hole.

Els missed narrowly on his birdie attempt on the first playoff hole, from around the same spot as his second miss. The third member of the playoff, Fred Couples, nearly chipped in for birdie from the back edge of the green, but his ball slid past the hole, and he missed a four-foot par putt coming back to be eliminated.

Jimenez, a first-round co-leader, needed a late charge just to reach the playoff. He birdied three in a row starting at No. 13 and made a fabulous par save at the difficult par-3 17th. He finished with a round of 5-under 67 on the day, good for 14-under 202 for the tournament.

"I know how to make birdies," the 56-year-old Jimenez said with a laugh after clinching the victory.

Couples, playing in the penultimate pairing with Jimenez, also shot 67 with three back-nine birdies.

Els, playing in the fourth-to-last pairing, notched a 65 for the second consecutive day to reach the playoff after he was tied for 30th through one round. He had a bogey-free Saturday with five birdies and an eagle.

Els, who turned 50 in October, was bidding to become the first player to win in his Champions Tour debut since, coincidentally, Jimenez did so at the Greater Gwinnett Championship in 2014.

A four-way playoff appeared possible until Germany's Bernhard Langer double-bogeyed 17 to fall out of a share of the lead. He also bogeyed 18 to finish with a 71 and tied for sixth at 11 under.

Woody Austin, the 36-hole leader, had a wild round with five birdies, four bogeys and a double bogey to tie for ninth at 10 under.

South Africa's Retief Goosen claimed a share of fourth place at 12 under with a 64, the low round of the day. He tied Wes Short Jr., who shot 67.

--Field Level Media

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