Red-hot Jimenez wins Regions Tradition
Fan favorite claims first senior major championship by holding off hard-charging Stricker
May 20, 2018
By The Associated Press
- May 20, 2018
- Miguel Angel Jimenez shot 2-under 70 in the final round to win by three shots. (Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) -- Miguel Angel Jimenez won the Regions Tradition on Sunday for his first senior major title, closing with a 2-under 70 for a three-stroke victory.
Jimenez held or shared the lead after every round, taking a three-shot edge into the final round at Greystone Golf & Country Club. The Spaniard finished at 19-under 269 for his fifth PGA TOUR Champions victory.
"It's been a wonderful week," he said. "My game was amazing, really."
Steve Stricker, Joe Durant and Gene Sauers tied for second.
It was the third time Jimenez had entered the final round of a senior major with at least a share of the lead but the first one he has pulled out. He tied for third at the 2016 Senior British Open and for second at the 2016 U.S. Senior Open.
Durant and Sauers finished with matching 69s, and Stricker shot 70.
Jimenez birdied two of the final three holes including a closing putt for good measure.
Jimenez entered the day at 17 under to tie Gil Morgan's 21-year-old Regions Tradition record through 54 holes. He got off to a rough start with an errant tee shot into a tree-lined area on his way to a bogey, but he never lost his grip on the lead.
Jimenez had three bogeys after making just one over the first three rounds, but easily held off his challengers late.
His approach on No. 18 landed right in the center of the green after Stricker's shot sailed well right into the gallery. He had rebuilt a two-stroke lead with a nice birdie putt on No. 16 while Durant and Stricker each had a bogey among the final three holes to leave Jimenez with a more comfortable cushion.
Stricker and Durant both had par on the final hole while Sauers also birdied to tie them. Durant had produced two eagles on No. 18 already in the tournament but couldn't put pressure on Jimenez with a third.
Stricker's assessment of his own performance, including a bogey on No. 17, was that he "made quite a few mistakes."
"Just didn't take care of my ball, really," he said. "I put it in some bad spots, didn't get it up and down when I had to a few times, missed a few putts. Yeah, just didn't have it really, didn't play that good, but still had a chance coming down to the end."
Jimenez made a birdie putt on No. 16 one hole after falling into a tie with Stricker with a bogey. Durant faltered, too, with a bogey on No. 16.
Stricker had two wins in his first four PGA TOUR Champions events this year and came in second on the money list. He has finished in the top five in each of his events.
Bernhard Langer finished five strokes off the lead in his bid to become the first to win the Regions Tradition three straight years. He closed with a 66 and 67 over the final two rounds after a slow start.
Miguel Angel Jimenez, 64-69-66-70--269 (-19)
• In his second appearance at the Regions Tradition, Jimenez finished with a 19-under-par 269, matching his career-low 72-hole score on PGA TOUR Champions (2015 Senior Open Championship) to claim his first major victory on both PGA TOUR and PGA TOUR Champions.
• This is Jimenez’s fifth victory in five seasons on PGA TOUR Champions, claiming one each year since turning the age of 50. He has 21 victories on the European Tour.
• In 70 major championship appearances during his PGA TOUR career, his best finish came in the 2000 U.S Open Championship at Pebble Beach where he finished T2 with Ernie Els to Tiger Woods’ historic 15-stroke victory, the largest in championship history.
• This was the third time he has been a leader/co-leader entering the final round at PGA TOUR Champions major and the first time he has converted it to a victory. In previous attempts, he finished T3 (2016 Senior Open Championship) and T2 (2016 U.S. Senior Open Championship).
• He now has five top-10 finishes in nine events played in this year and moves from No. 15 up to No. 4 in the Charles Schwab Cup money list with $670,872.08 in earnings. This matches his highest rank this year, going back to his opening tournament (Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai) when he started the season at No. 4.
• The 54-year-old native of Spain became the sixth international player to win the Regions Tradition in its 30-year history, joining Bernhard Langer (Germany), David Frost (South Africa), Mark McNulty (Zimbabwe), Eduardo Romero (Argentina) and Graham Marsh (Australia).
Joe Durant, 66-70-67-69--272 (-16)
• Durant moved his way into contention with two birdies on the front nine and two back-to-back birdies at the turn, but with a bogey on No. 16, pulled away to finish in a three-way tie for second, three-strokes behind the leader.
• This is Durant’s best finish at the Regions Tradition in four starts and matches his best finish in a major championship (2016 Constellation SENIOR PLAYERS Championship).
• He is the only player with top-10 finishes in each of the last six tournaments. Through 11 events, he ranks in the top-10 of nine statistical categories including birdie average (2nd, 4.64 per round), scoring average (2nd, 69.11) and driving accuracy (8th, 78.09%).
• Durant won the Chubb Classic in February and has notched a total of seven top-10s this year.
• The $176,000 check for T2 that he received on Sunday moved him up a spot in the Charles Schwab Cup standings to third.
• Durant attended Montgomery College in Montgomery, Alabama.
Gene Sauers, 66-67-70-69--272 (-16)
• Sauers carded a 3-under-par 69 en route to a 16-under-par 272 finish to land T2, his best finish in six appearances at the Regions Tradition.
• This is Sauers second runner-up finish of the year (Cologuard Classic) and eighth on PGA TOUR Champions.
• This is the second time Sauers has finished runner-up in a PGA TOUR Champions major (2014 U.S. Senior Open Championship), but owns the title to one major at the 2016 U.S. Senior Open Championship.
Steve Stricker, 67-70-65-70--272 (-16)
• Stricker worked his way into contention leading up to the finish, but a bogey on No. 17 moved him two-strokes off the lead. Jimenez birdied the final hole, pushing Stricker back by three to land in a three-way tie for second, his third runner-up finish in 11 appearances on PGA TOUR Champions.
• So far this season, Stricker has two wins (Cologuard Classic, Rapiscan System Classic), has finished inside the top-five in all five starts, and is currently ranked No. 2 in Charles Schwab Cup standings with $806,235.00 in earnings.
• In 71 major starts on the PGA TOUR, Stricker’s best finish was runner up to Vijay Singh in the 1998 PGA Championship at Sahalee Country Club.
• This was Stricker’s 29th round under par on PGA TOUR Champions, the longest active streak and ranks third longest ever (36: Bernhard Langer, 31: Gil Morgan and Colin Montgomerie) in PGA TOUR Champions history. He has never carded a round over par on PGA TOUR Champions.
• The easiest hole for the tournament was No. 2, yielding 119 birdies and playing to a 4.612 average. The hardest hole was No. 3, yielding 40 birdies, 60 bogeys and 18 double bogey, and playing to a 4.197 average. Hole No. 3 also played the hardest across four rounds at Greystone Golf and Country Club in 2017.
• Scott McCarron carded a 5-under 67 final round to finish T5 for his highest finish since the Toshiba Classic where he finished T2. McCarron totaled a 15-under-par 273, to match the same final score as when he finished runner-up at the 2017 Regions Tradition.
• 2015 Regions Tradition champion Jeff Maggert entered the Regions Tradition off his best finish of the year coming in at T2 at the Insperity Invitational. Sunday he carded a 8-under-par 64 to match both the best round of the week and course record at Greystone Golf and Country Club. Maggert moved up the leaderboard 17 places to finish T5, sitting in the top-five for the second time this year and 12th time on PGA TOUR Champions.
• Two-time defending champion, Bernhard Langer carded a bogey-free 5-under-par 67 final round to finish in 11th place. In 49 career starts in senior majors, Langer now has 38 top-10s and 10 wins with his worst finish coming for 23rd at the 2010 KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship.
• John Daly withdrew prior to the final round on Sunday due to injury.
• Bart Bryant was disqualified on No. 2 after playing the wrong ball and failing to rectify it before teeing off on the following hole.