Golf: Jimenez wins record-equalling fourth Hong Kong Open

Golf: Jimenez wins record-equalling fourth Hong Kong Open

HONG KONG - Defending champion Miguel Angel Jimenez won the US$1.3 million Hong Kong Open in a three-way playoff Sunday, clinching the title for a record-equalling fourth time and securing his 20th European Tour victory.

The 49-year-old Spaniard birdied the first extra hole at the Hong Kong Golf Club to defeat Thailand's Prom Meesawat and Stuart Manley of Wales and collect a winner's cheque of US$216,660.

Jimenez raised his arm to the air as a fifteen-foot-plus putt dropped into the hole on the eighteenth green - much to the delight of an adoring crowd in the southern Chinese city.

The victory saw the popular Jimenez match the Taiwanese Hsieh Yung-yo's four wins at Fanling in the 1960s and 1970s and break the record he set last year as the oldest European Tour winner.

"It's very nice to win a fourth title and for two years in a row," a delighted Jimenez said. "It's a very sweet victory."

Jimenez played the extra hole perfectly, hitting his tee shot past his opponents and into a prime position far down the fairway.

"In the playoff I know I needed to make something," he said afterwards, enjoying his trademark cigar and glass of red wine.

"I thought I needed to make a birdie. I hit a beautiful drive down the middle of the fairway then hit a wedge.

"To win in that style makes it even more sweet."

Jimenez started the day two shots behind overnight leader Manley but soon closed the gap with birdies at 3, 11, 13 and 14 as the Welshmen traded bogeys with birdies in an inconsistent round.

As the Spaniard ticked along nicely Prom - playing in the group ahead of Jimenez - was tearing up the course to propel himself up the leaderboard.

Two eagles and two birdies put the Thai golfer in the lead on his own at the co-sanctioned European Tour and Asian Tour event before a disappointing bogey at the 14th.

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