Busy Sunday for golf

Sunday, November 18, 2012 - 2:39pm

A busy Sunday saw four tournaments across three continents settled to underline the truly global nature of modern golf.

Spain's Miguel Angel Jimenez became the oldest winner on the European Tour as the 48-year-old took top honors at the Hong Kong Open, while England's Luke Donald won in Japan to reclaim the world No. 2 ranking from Tiger Woods.

In Australia, Adam Scott held off Ryder Cup hero Ian Poulter to take his first title in 15 months at the Australian Masters and ease the pain of his British Open heartbreak back in July.

And if that wasn't enough Sweden's Henrik Stenson completed a hectic Sunday by recording victory in the SA Open Championship at the Serengeti Golf & Wildlife Estate in Pretoria, South Africa.

But back to Hong Kong, and the heroics of Jimenez who captured his 19th European Tour title and his 12th since turning 40, by one shot over Sweden's Fredrik Andersson Hed.

Jimenez, a European vice captain in the recent Ryder Cup, recorded a final round of 65 to earn his place in the record books by virtue of being six months older than Des Smyth when he won the Madeira Islands Open in 2001.

"It's very nice -- I hope it's not the last one," Jimenez joked in quotes on the European Tour's official website.

"The most important thing, I do what I like to do in my life, and golf has given me all of this pleasure. Winning now, at 48, my goodness -- 24 years I've been on the Tour.

"I still love it and I think that is fantastic, to love what you're doing, and enjoy yourself, keep fit, keep working myself a little bit and stretching a lot, and that's the main thing to do to compete with the new guns.

"I really love this place. I love the golf course -- it's a great golf course where you have to control the ball very well, it's not a matter of distance."

There were mixed fortunes for two other players who played their part in Europe's remarkable Ryder Cup comeback in Medinah.

Luke Donald cruised to victory at the Dunlop Phoenix tournament in Japan by five shots to reclaim the world No. 2 ranking from 14-time major winner Tiger Woods.

Donald, who led from the front for most of the competition in Miyazaki, still has a long way to go to topple Rory McIlroy who is out in front of the rankings but he was delighted with his win.

He said on micro-blogging site Twitter: "BOOM!! 3rd win of the year - honored to add my name to the great Champions that have won the Dunlop Phoenix Tournament.

"Loved my week here in Japan - the Dunlop Phoenix is a great event, on a great course, great food, great beer....it's just great!"

But Ian Poulter was pipped to the Australian Masters crown by Adam Scott after the Englishman carded a disappointing final round.

With the pair well clear of the chasing pack Sunday came down to a straight shoot out between the pair and Scott went some way to erasing the painful memory of his British Open experience, when he led with four holes left and ended up losing.

Scott's triumph means he has continued his run of winning at least one event in every season since 2001.

After receiving his trophy and the golden jacket that goes with it he set his sights on a jacket of a different color -- the green one awarded to the winner of the Masters in Augusta.

"It's pretty awesome to be able to slip this jacket on. Maybe I can set the theme of winning jackets and turn it green next year before I come back to defend," he was quoted as saying on the tournament's website.

"I haven't been dwelling on what happened at the Open at all, I put that out of my head in the week afterwards.

"I had to, otherwise you'd never come back to a golf course, would you? It's kind of painful. I'd been working hard and I hadn't quite got back in that position until today, but I felt good out there.

"I just had to trust that all the work that I'd put into my game was going to hold up and to not get in my own way is the big thing.

"Not (to) have thoughts of what happened at the Open or any other negative thoughts come into play -- that's just part of the mental side of this game."

The last of Sunday's winner was 28-year-old Stenson, who held off the late challenge of George Coetzee to end a five-year run without a European Tour victory.

He also secured his place at next week's World Tour Championship in Dubai after closing the tournament on 17-under, despite a blip half way through his round when he fell back to level pegging with his South African challenger.

"It was great that I came down here," he told the European Tour website. "One of the bigger reasons was I was 59th in The Race to Dubai standings and I needed a good week.

"I made it difficult for myself in the middle of the round there but hung in there and stayed patient. I played well to shoot 17 under par around here in these windy conditions. It was playing a lot harder today."
 

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