Miguel Angel Jimenez secured his maiden senior major title with a three shot victory at the Regions Tradition in Alabama.
After a short birdie putt for victory and a signature celebration, Miguel Angel Jimenez was sprayed with a bottle of champagne and hoisted up in to the air by Jose Maria Olazabal and as he celebrated his first senior major title.
"It's been a wonderful week,'' he said after his win. "My game was amazing, really. It's time to have a medal in my pocket and it's nice to be on the first major of the year."
While notching 21-time wins on the European Tour and four PGA Tour Champions titles, it was the coveted major title that had always evaded Jimenez - having led after 54 holes in a senior major on two occasions but failing to get the job done. That is until Sunday.
Perhaps the key was his unorthodox pre-round nightly routine. After the third round Jimenez was in posession of a three shot lead over Steve Stricker, who has already picked up two victories on the Champions Tour this season. Yet he assured the media he wasn't about to change the way he prepared for the final round.
“I think I’m going to do exactly the same thing I did [Friday] night,” he said on Saturday night about his preparations. “I’m going to have a margarita as an aperitif, and then I'm going to have a nice bottle of Rioja [wine] and smoke a big fat cigar.”
It may not have been an easy final round, but it must have paid off as Jimenez responded to losing his outright lead on two occasions during the round with a brilliant final three-hole stretch that secured his first senior major.
“I started a little excited, but I got myself back into the game,” Jimenez said.
Despite an opening hole bogey, Jimenez responded with birdies at both the fifth and seventh holes to card a front-nine 35 and remain in front as he began to get chased down by both Steve Stricker and Joe Durant.
A second dropped shot on the 10th hole left Jimenez tied with Durant, who had birdied three holes from the 8th to the 11th to reach 17-under-par, but he once again moved clear thanks to a tap-in gain on the par-five 13th hole.
His final bogey of the day was a crucial turning point for Jimenez, who suddenly found himself with three holes to play and in a three-way tie with both Stricker and Durant. While both his opponents dropped a shot in those last three, Jimenez made birdie on 16 to give himself a two shot cushion heading down the par-five 18th.
He found the green in two, and a two putt birdie for a two-under 70 ensured a three shot victory and his first PGA Tour Champions major title. How will he celebrate?
“Yeah, we’re going to have a big party,” said Jimenez.