Miguel Angel Jimenez seeks record fifth Hong Kong Open title
Miguel Angel Jimenez is bidding for a record-breaking fifth Hong Kong Open title this week but faces stiff competition from a stellar field including major winners Ernie Els and Y.E. Yang.
Hong Kong: Miguel Angel Jimenez is bidding for a record-breaking fifth Hong Kong Open title this week but faces stiff competition from a stellar field including major winners Ernie Els and Y.E. Yang.
The tournament is an important stop on the European Tour again after being relegated last year, with the likes of Nicolas Colsaerts looking to secure their place in the lucrative Race to Dubai `Final Series`.
Spanish veteran Jimenez, who at 50 is the oldest winner on the European Tour, is also seeking to become the first golfer to win the event three years in a row.
"It feels like home here," he told reporters in the southern Chinese city.
"I`ve won four times out of 10 appearances which I think is a very good percentage."
Jimenez triumphed in 2004, 2007, 2012 and last year -- defeating Stuart Manley of Wales and Thailand`s Prom Meesawat in a playoff after they finished level on 12-under.
The $1.3 million event starts on Thursday and takes place over the Hong Kong Golf Club at Fanling, where each of the illustrious event`s previous 55 editions have been held.
"It`s one of my favourite golf courses in the world," Jimenez said.
"You have to be accurate from the tee because if you miss the fairway you get a difficult lie in the short rough.
"I`m hitting the ball well and I`m planning to make it my fifth win here."
If he does then he`ll become only the fourth player to have won the same tournament five times, joining 14-time major winner Tiger Woods, British Open legend Tom Watson and Germany`s Bernhard Langer.
Four-time major winner and golf hall of famer Els is playing in the event for the first time while Asia`s lone major champion Yang, from South Korea, is looking to give his career a much-needed boost.
The 2009 PGA champion has dropped outside the world`s top 600 players since blazing a trail for Asia five years ago with his major victory, sensationally coming from behind to defeat Woods.
The Hong Kong Open is the penultimate event of this season`s European Tour and is co-sanctioned with the Asian Tour.
Begium`s Colsaerts is looking for a strong week over the par 70, 6,699-yard course as he looks to secure a place in the season-ending `Final Series`.
The series of four big-money events will feature only the top 60 players in the Race to Dubai rankings beginning with the BMW Masters in Shanghai in two weeks` time.
Colsaerts, lying 58th, is in fine form, just missing the European Tour`s first ever round of 59 by just one shot on his way to finishing second at the rain-interrupted Portugal Masters last week.
Also competing in Hong Kong are 2002 US PGA Champion Rich Beem, American Peter Uihlein and China`s number one Liang Wenchong.