Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Golf

Miguel Angel Jimenez finishes wire-to-wire win in Champions debut

DULUTH, Ga. — Miguel Angel Jimenez quickly shifted his focus back to the Ryder Cup after winning his first Champions Tour event.

Jimenez held off Bernhard Langer to win the Greater Gwinnett Championship on Sunday, becoming the third player to lead from start to finish in his debut on the 50-and-over tour.

Jimenez, coming off a fourth-place finish in the Masters, closed with 67 to finish at 14-under 202, two strokes ahead of Langer. Jimenez finished with 32 consecutive holes without a bogey at TPC Sugarloaf.

The Spaniard said he can't make a commitment to the tour this year because his goal is making the European Ryder Cup team.

"To me, it's not about money," Jimenez said. "It's about some different goals to make me feel proud of myself. To me, I would feel nice to play on the Ryder Cup once more."

Langer, the defending champion, shot his third straight 68. Jimenez and Langer were tied at 10 under before a two-shot swing on No. 8. Jimenez needed only a short putt for birdie, and Langer fell two strokes behind with his bogey.

After that, Jimenez avoided mistakes down the stretch, leaving no opening for Langer or Jay Haas, who shot 67 and was third, four shots off the lead.

Jimenez insisted the win wasn't easy.

"When you hit the ball straight and you put the ball close to the hole, it looks easy, but nothing is easy," he said. "You need to keep calm yourself. … I like to feel the pressure and … the people that are coming behind bite me."

Langer said his inability to make birdie putts kept him from putting pressure on Jimenez.

"I had a number of opportunities, just couldn't make any putts," Langer said. "And he played very, very solid all day."

PGA: Matt Kuchar saw his well-struck 5-iron on the 18th hole at the RBC Heritage come up way short of the target and settle in a front bunker.

"Well," he thought as he walked toward the shot, "there are a lot worse places to be."

For Kuchar, there was no better place — and no better shot in the tournament.

He followed with a stunning chip-in on Harbour Town Golf Link's closing lighthouse hole to overcome a four-shot deficit for a one-stroke victory at Hilton Head Island, S.C., ending nearly a month of Sundays where he came close to a title only to lose at the end.

Kuchar shot 64 to finish at 11-under 273, one stroke ahead of Luke Donald, who had his third second place and fifth top-three finish here in the past six years.

Donald's latest chance ended on Kuchar's chip. He hit it solid, felt it was a good line and watched it rattle home. "I heard the crowd go crazy," Kuchar said. "Then I went crazy."

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