Darren Clarke could only manage an even par 70 on Sunday as Miguel Angel Jimenez danced his way to glory at the Sanford International.
The Northern Irishman had burst into contention with a 62 on moving day but was unable to replicate the fireworks in the final round. In fact, Clarke went quite the opposite on his outward nine as three bogeys threatened to undo all the good work of the previous day.
That was until a birdie-eagle combo on 11 and 12 kicked Clarke into life as he raced home in 33 to finish even on the day, tied 12th overall at eight-under par and nearly $40,000 richer for the performance.
Meanwhile, Miguel Angel Jimenez completed a wire-to-wire victory at the Tour’s first event with fans since returning from a break for the coronavirus pandemic.
Jimenez closed with a 5-under 65 at Minehaha Country Club to beat Steve Flesch by a stroke. The 56-year-old Spanish star won for the second time this season and 10th on the PGA Tour Champions.
“How am I going to celebrate?” Jimenez said. “We start already. We have some wine here, it’s my favourite drink. Nice cigar, Arturo Fuentes. … The short period you’re going to be here in this world, enjoy yourself.”
Tied for the second-round lead with Steve Stricker, Jimenez eagled the par-5 12th for the second time in three days and played the four par-5 holes in 4 under with birdies on Nos. 4 and 16.
“That hole is beautiful,” Jimenez said about the 12th. “Five-under par in three days, eagle-birdie-eagle, and especially today after hitting a beautiful drive into the wind, I have 208 meters, 230 yards, to the hole and it’s perfect for my 5-wood into the wind. Is becoming like a 245 yards and that’s a distance perfect for my 5-wood. I hit a beautiful shot right to the flag and 5-foot putt for eagle. Knock it in.”
He parred the final two holes to finish at 14-under 196.
Full scoring HERE