50-year-old Miguel Angel Jimenez shoots 66 at Masters
AUGUSTA, Ga. – He likes a good cigar as much as he does a fine bottle of wine, though his days of actually smoking on the course are over. In a tournament in which a lot of players look the same, Miguel Angel Jimenez can’t be missed with a ponytail sticking out in back and a gut in the front.
Add in a stretching routine that has made him a bit of an Internet sensation, and Jimenez may be the most interesting man playing Augusta National this weekend.
On Saturday he was also one of the best.
A week before making his debut on golf’s senior circuit, Jimenez shot a 6-under-par 66 to move toward the top of the leaderboard in the Masters. After an improbable round that included seven birdies against a lone bogey, the Spaniard who has toiled mostly on the European Tour was at 3-under 213.
That not only left Jimenez within striking distance of the lead, but gave him some thoughts of winning the first major championship of his career at the age of 50.
“I have plenty of victories in my career and having a major in my career would be amazing,” Jimenez said. “That would be the flower on top, to say so.”
In a tournament where the old guys are showing that they can still play – six players 50 or older made the cut – Jimenez separated himself from his fellow seniors in a round he wrapped up as the leaders were teeing off.
Now the question becomes whether he can take advantage of his position today and become the oldest player to win a major. It’s not exactly new territory for Jimenez, who led the British Open by a shot last year before fading with a 77 in the third round.
“I will try to. I will try to,” Jimenez said. “If I can play golf and control the ball, I have my chances.”
Playing in his 15th Masters, the man known as “The Mechanic” because of his love of cars improved 10 shots from the 76 he shot in the second round. He did it with a back-nine flurry of birdies marred only by a bogey on the par-3 12th when he took two shots to get out of the front bunker.
Jimenez credited a good short game and an abundance of patience with putting him at least within shouting range of the leaders.
“That’s the main thing that you have to take care of around here,” he said.