May 25, 2008
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Jimenez beats Wilson in PGA playoff

May 25, 2008

By Tony Jimenez

VIRGINIA WATER (Reuters) - Spain's Miguel Angel Jimenez became the third oldest winner of the PGA Championship when he beat Oliver Wilson at the second hole of a playoff at Wentworth on Sunday.

The 44-year-old Jimenez, helped by a hole-in-one, fired a four-under-par 68 to join Wilson (68) on 11-under-par 277 at the end of the regulation 72 holes.

Wilson, 27, came close to winning the European Tour's flagship event when his eight-foot putt lipped out at the first extra hole.

The duo walked back to the tee to play the par-five 18th for the second time in the playoff. On this occasion the Englishman drove his ball into the right rough while Jimenez reached the green in two and safely two putted from 25 feet for a winning birdie.

"It is my 20th full season on the tour and this is a nice present," Jimenez told the BBC as he held the trophy in his arms.

"I have been playing at Wentworth for many years and I have been in contention a lot in recent years. I know how to play this golf course."

The Spaniard, who was third here in 2006 and tied fifth last year, finally broke through to became the third oldest PGA champion behind the 46-year-old Dai Rees (1959) and the 45-year-old Arnold Palmer (1975).

Jimenez's ace came at the 212-yard fifth when his four-iron tee shot took two bounces before disappearing into the middle of the cup.


The 1999 Volvo Masters champion enjoyed mixed fortunes in good conditions for scoring, with overnight rain softening the West Course and no sign of Saturday's strong winds.

Jimenez charged to the turn in 31, level par, but also three-putted twice, the second time at the 15th when he inexplicably missed from 15 inches.

The former Ryder Cup player held his nerve in the playoff though to clinch the first prize of 750,000 euros (597,400 pounds) and the 15th victory of his career.

It was also Jimenez's second win of the season after he lifted the Hong Kong Open trophy in November.

The emerging Wilson, so often the tour's bridesmaid but never the bride, was left to reflect on the seventh second-place finish of his career and the third in his last five tournaments.

"That hurts a little bit," he told reporters. "I hit a good putt on the first playoff hole ... and I cannot believe I missed it.

"It is the biggest tournament apart from the majors that we (Europeans) play in. If every event were like this it would be amazing."

Robert Karlsson, who started the day four shots clear of the field, missed out on the playoff in agonising fashion after taking three putts from three feet at the 18th.

The Swede carded a 74 to finish joint third alongside Luke Donald, who closed with three birdies in a row to compile a 65 for 279, nine under.

India's Jyoti Randhawa (70) was fifth on 280.

(Editing by Sonia Oxley)

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