At the age of almost 50, Miguel Angel Jimenez won a three-way play-off at the first playoff hole by sinking an 18 foot putt to defend last year’s Hong Kong Open title.
He snatched his fourth Hong Kong Open title from the grasp of Prom Meesawat of Thailand and overnight leader Stuart Manley of Wales.
Starting the day two shots off the lead, after making up four shots in Round-3, Jimenez took a few holes to get into his stride.
He was still on -9 at the turn but then picked up birdies at the 11th, 12th, 14th and 17th holes, but dropped a shot on the 16th leaving him on -12 on the 18th tee.
Meesawat was already in the club-house at -12, so Jimenez had to par or birdie the hole to at least force a playoff. He hit a long drive, but his second fell short into the front bunker, all looked lost … but not to Jimenez, who calmly stroked the ball close to the hole and a short put gave him par. His up and down saves were 100 per cent for the tournament.
On the first playoff hole Jimenez hit a long drive again and put his approach shot onto the green 18 feet from the hole. Meanwhile, Manley was offline with his approach shot, but still had a long putt for par. Meesawat also had a chance with a putt for par having missed the green.
But Jimenez sank his 18 foot putt for a birdie to secure the win—to add to his three previous Open titles won at the Hong Kong Golf Club (2005, 2008, 2012).
Meesawat played well on Day-3 of the tournament heading the leader board on several occasions, but dropped back towards the end of the round to finish Round-3 on -7, three shots behind Stuart Manley at -10.
Meesawat soon got his game humming in the final round with a birdie on the second hole, then an eagle on the par 5 hole 3 and another birdie at the 6th hole to put him on -11 at the turn. He had another eagle on the 13th to put him on -13, but dropped a shot at the 14th hole to finish on -12.
Manley, the overnight leader bogied the first hole, but got birdies on the 3rd and 4th holes to bring him to -11. He immediately lost a shot on the 5th to take him back to -10. This was the pattern of his day with occasional bogies followed by birdies, but after the 17th hole he was still at -11.
His approach shot on the par 4 final hole was in the light rough to the right of the green and about 15 feet from the hole. He holed the chip shot to tremendous applause to join Meesawat and Jimenez in the play-off. But on the first play-off hole, back down the 18th hole, his drive was tight to the trees and not a good position for his shot to the green. This time his approach shot sailed behind the hospitality box and he had a difficult recovery shot to the green, but still had a chance to make Par … but to no avail.
Despite losing to the 49-year-337-day-old Jimenez, it was a good tournament for both Meesawat and Manley, who both produced best performances in the tournament.