Miguel Angel Jimenez Wins PGA Tour Champions’ Season-Opening Mitsubishi Electric Championship

Miguel Angel Jimenez’s name is atop the final leaderboard…

The 56-year-oldSpanish professional golfer made a 12-foot birdie putt on the second hole of a playoff Saturday with senior newcomer Ernie Els to win the PGA Tour Champions‘ season-opening Mitsubishi Electric Championship.

Miguel Angel Jimenez

Fred Couples dropped out on the first extra trip down the par-4 18th at windy Hualalai, missing a short par putt.

Jimenez, paired with Couples in the second-to-last group, birdied Nos. 13-15 in a 5-under 67 to match Els and Couples at 14-under 202.

“I said to my caddie, ‘The winning score is going to be 15-under par, and we need to hurry up and make birdie,” said Jimenez. “Make three birdies in a row, 14-under par, and then here we are.”

Jimenez has nine victories on the 50-and-over tour, also winning at Hualalai in 2015. He has won in all seven of his senior seasons.

“Played well every year here, and it’s nice to have a second win,” Jimenez said.

Els made his senior debut on Thursday with an even-par 72 to fall eight strokes behind leaders Jimenez and Bernhard Langer, then rallied with consecutive 65s. The four-time major winner from South Africa had an eagle and five birdies, chipping in on the par-4 16th for his final birdie.

“Disappointing, obviously,” Els said. “I would have loved to got it through, but I had a couple of chances, didn’t quite get the right speed or the right line, but all good. Congrats to Miguel.”

Couples finished with a 67.

Jimenez and Couples left birdie tries to win on the 18th in regulation just short, and Jimenez had a birdie putt stop on the edge on the first extra hole.

With the wind down, Els’ 12-footer to win on the first playoff hole ran by the right edge. On the second extra hole, his 20-footer went by on the right side before Jimenez holed the winner.

“Not going to be short,” Jimenez said.

Els missed a chance to become the 19th player to win in his tour debut. Jimenez was the last to accomplish the feat, in the 2014 Greater Gwinnett Championship.

“The first day, it was pretty disappointing,” Els said. “I was almost last in the field. Then, I got myself back up and played some really good golf.”

Jimenez Makes History at the Masters Golf Tournament

Miguel Angel Jimenez has entered the annals of Masters history…

The 50-year-old Spanish professional golfer made Masters Golf Tournament history on Saturday by tying the record for the lowest score shot by a player age 50 or older.

Miguel Angel Jimenez

Jimenez, who has 20 wins on the European Tour, shot 6-under-par 66 to surge up the leaderboard and move two shots behind co-leaders Jordan Spieth and Bubba Watson in a tie for fifth place

Jimenez matched the 66 shot by Ben Hogan at the Augusta National Golf Club in 1967 and again by Fred Couples in 2010.

“I love the place,” he said. “It’s a beautiful place, a beautiful golf course, always manicured, and I feel great here. Doesn’t matter how you play, you feel good, because everything is prepared for us the way it is.

“If you are 50 doesn’t mean that you cannot play well. I’m still moving. I’m still flexible … the main thing is I’m doing what I like to do in my life and I’m enjoying it completely.”

Jimenez, who won the UBS Hong Kong Open late last year, started his round at 3 over, but birdied the third, fifth, 10th and 11th holes before a bogey at No. 12. He then added birdies at Nos. 13, 14 and 16.

Playing in his 15th Masters, Jimenez matched his lowest score at Augusta National, shot in 2010. His best finish is a tie for eighth in 2008.

Although Jimenez is scheduled to make his Champions Tour debut next week in Atlanta, he doesn’t plan to make a habit of the 50-and-older circuit — at least not this year. He has a goal of making the European Ryder Cup team.

“I know I have a chance to play the Ryder Cup,” said Jimenez, who is ranked 40th in the world and 13th on the European Tour points list — a world list is also used to determine the nine automatic qualifiers.

Jimenez has played on four European teams and was a vice captain for Jose Maria Olazabal‘s winning team in 2012 at Medinah.