TUCSON, Ariz. — Miguel Angel Jiménez survived a playoff to win the PGA Tour Champions season opener in Hawaii. His win Sunday in Tucson, Arizona, was a walk in the park by comparison.
Two aces in 50 holes will do that for a guy.
Leading by three shots in the final round, Jiménez hit a 6-iron from 188 yards on the 14th hole. Four bounces and a clanged flagstick later, Jiménez had himself a second hole-in-one this week and more importantly, a five-shot lead with four to go in the Cologuard Classic.
Jiménez finished his round par-par-par-par to shoot a final-round 65 and finish 18 under, four clear of the field. Bernhard Langer and Woody Austin finished tied for second at 14 under.
Cologuard Ambassador Jerry Kelly started the final round tied for second, two shots back of Jimenez. He closed with a 70 after opening 68-67 and finished solo fourth. Scott Parel was solo fifth at 10 under.
Jiménez’s ace Friday also came off the face of his 6-iron on the 196-yard 7th hole. Tim Petrovic had a pair of aces a year ago but Jiménez used his 1s to guide him to his 12th Champions victory. The aces were the 12th and 13th in competition for Jiménez, who had 10 on the DP World (formerly European) Tour.
Jiménez started birdie-eagle and was five under through eight holes before clipping a tree with his second shot on the 9th. After a third shot to about eight feet, Jiménez missed his par putt but still made the turn at 15 under, four clear of Langer and Jeff Sluman. The lead was down to three after Langer and Woody Austin each birdied the 12th but the Jiménez ace on No. 14 essentially sealed the win.
Jiménez pocketed $270,000 for the win. He has earned $668,795 so far this season. Loren Roberts in 2006 was the last golfer to win two of the first three Champions events to start a season.
Sluman, who co-lead after the first round and was tied for second after 36 holes, was seeking to break a stretch of 2,821 days since his last victory in 2014 when he teamed with Fred Funk to win Big Cedar Lodge Legends of Golf.
Langer came into the week off his win a week ago at the Chubb Classic, his 43rd win on the senior circuit. He finished xx and remains two victories from tying Hale Irwin’s Champions tour mark. Langer will get another chance to cut the gap to one next week at the Hoag Classic in Newport Beach, California.
Other notables in the field:
Jim Furyk, playing just 15 miles from his college home at the University of Arizona, 74-74-69 and finished T-25.
Omar Uresti, one of four golfers to get through the qualifier on Tuesday, went 73-70-71 and finished T-33.
John Daly, in the field on a sponsor exemption, posted scores of 78-71-73 to finish T-66.
David Duval, Champions tour rookie and winner of the Tucson Chrysler Classic on this same course on the PGA Tour in 1998, shot 77-77-73 to finish T-69.
Celebrity Challenge winners
Annika Sorenstam, who played at the University of Arizona in Tucson, and Larry Fitzgerald, the former Arizona Cardinals receiver, teamed up to win the Celebrity Challenge on Saturday.
Sorenstam, who has committed to the U.S. Women’s Open in June, was runnerup in the celebrity division at the LPGA’s season-opening Tournament of Champions in January. In the best-ball format in Tucson, Sorenstam made a birdie putt on 18 to get her and Fitzgerald to 4 under to defeat the team of country music star Jake Owen and former NFL running back Eric Dickerson by two.