Jimenez goes back-to-back at Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic
Fan favorite wins on first playoff hole against Sauers to claim victory at Fallen Oak
April 02, 2017
By Bryan Mullen, PGATOUR.COM
- Miguel Angel Jimenez made it interesting late but held on for the win. (Dustin Massey/Chipshots)
There's something about Mississippi that Miguel Angel Jimenez really likes. And it has resulted in trophies the past two years.
Jimenez won the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic for the second consecutive year, this time beating Gene Sauers on the first playoff hole at Fallen Oak with an 18-foot birdie putt.
"I feel very nice. I feel I'm playing very well," Jimenez said. "When I make birdies I feel like I can win the tournament. Then just keep playing well, make a couple more birdies. I'm happy to defend the way I defended, yeah. Yeah, I had some emotions out there, no?"
The 53-year-old Spaniard jumped in front of second-round leader Sauers midway through the final round. But Jimenez struggled at the end of regulation. He held a two-shot lead with one hole to play, but he made double bogey. Sauers made par, and the two headed back to the 18th tee for a playoff.
"It's a pity to go to a playoff," Jimenez said. "I played very well and come in with a two-shot lead on the 18th and made a double-bogey. But I'm human, you know."
Both players were in good shape off the tee, and Jimenez' approach came to rest 18 feet from the hole. Sauers found a bunker, and Jimenez ended it when he drained the birdie putt.
Jimenez shot 2-under 70 in the final round while Sauers shot a 1-under 71. Sauers tied the course record (63) at Fallen Oak on Saturday.
"I kind of just held it there for awhile, made a couple bogeys early and I three-putted three times today," Sauers said. "The wheels were coming off and then I just said we've got to start all over again. I started on 10 and I started making birdies and clutch putts, so I was keeping the pressure on him and evidently he felt it a little bit. Heck, I played good. I stuck in there and, you know, what the heck, my playoff record ain't too damn good."
In addition to his two wins in Mississippi, Jimenez also won the 2014 Greater Gwinnett Championship and the 2015 Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai.
In 25 starts on PGA TOUR Champions, Jimenez now has 11 top-3 finishes and four wins. The long-time member of the European Tour has 21 career titles on that tour.
Steve Stricker, playing in his second event on PGA TOUR Champions, had the round of the day with a 7-under 65. He finished T3 at 12 under on the week. In his debut two weeks ago, Stricker finished in solo second place at the Tucson Conquistadores Classic, just one shot behind winner Tom Lehman.
Reigning Charles Schwab Cup winner Bernhard Langer rallied late and finished T3 thanks to a final-round 5-under 67. He overtook Fred Couples, who did not play in Mississippi, for the top spot in the current Schwab Cup standings.
Miguel Angel Jimenez closes in a playoff to win at Mississippi Gulf
Miguel Angel Jimenez, 67-66-70 – 203 (-13)
• Claimed his fourth PGA TOUR Champions title with his playoff victory on Sunday. It marked the fourth year in succession he has won at least one title on Tour.
• He became the first player to successfully defend a title on Tour since Bernhard Langer won the 2016 Constellation SENIOR PLAYERS Championship, an event he has won three years in succession.
• He was 9-under-par on the par-5s for the event and had just two bogeys in three rounds.
• His other three wins on PGA TOUR Champions were the 2014 Greater Gwinnett Championship, the 2015 Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai and this event a year ago.
• In 25 starts on PGA TOUR Champions, the 53-year-old Jimenez owns 11 top-3 finishes.
• A long-time member of the European Tour where he won 21 career titles.
• Bernhard Langer’s record streak of consecutive sub-par rounds reached 35 following his 5-under-par 67. Langer began his streak at the 2016 Boeing Classic. It was also his 11th consecutive sub-par round at Fallen Oak.
• Thanks to his T3 finish Bernhard Langer regained the lead in the Charles Schwab Cup race from Fred Couples. Langer had led the race after the first two events before Couples took over following his win at the Chubb Classic and sat atop the standings by $54,617 coming into this event. Langer was the Charles Schwab Cup leader for 18 weeks dating back to last year before Couples took over the lead.
• Kevin Sutherland’s T6 finish was his fourth top-10 finish in as many starts this year and sixth straight dating back to last year. Sutherland and Fred Couples are the only players to finish in the top 10 in each of their starts this year.
• Steve Stricker closed with a 7-under-par 65 to finish tied for third in just his second start on PGA TOUR Champions. He was second in his debut at the Tucson Conquistadores Classic. His 7-under-par 65 on Sunday was the day’s low round.
• Scott McCarron rebounded from a 1-over-par 73 in the first-round with weekend rounds of 65-67 to finish fifth overall. He had been T50 after Friday’s first round.
• Sunday’s scoring average was 72.364 and the scoring average for the event was 71.606.
• The most difficult hole was No. 4 with an average score of 4.183 (+.183), while No. 6 was the easiest at 4.540 (-.460).
• Rod Spittle’s T6 finish earned him a spot in the Mitsubishi Electric Classic near Atlanta in two weeks.
• Gene Sauers and Steve Stricker led all players with 18 birdies.
• Russ Cochran withdrew prior to the start of the final round with a wrist injury and Mark Calcavecchia withdrew after 8 holes with a back injury.
• Brandt Jobe was T57 after Friday’s first round, but posted rounds of 67-68 to eventually finish T11.
• Despite having a trio of three-putts on Sunday, Gene Sauers still had the fewest putts of any player in the field for the tournament – 80. He also one-putted 30 of 54 holes to lead all players in that category.