Miguel Ángel Jiménez, who will turn 60 on January 5, has been focused on the senior American circuit for a long time, but has shown once again that he is capable of also enjoying himself competing with the elite.
The man from Malaga is playing this week in the European Masters, a DP World Tour tournament, the new name of the European circuit, and has finished the first day in the top-10 thanks to a sensational card of 65 shots (-5) on par 70 of the Crans-sur-Sierre GC, in Crans Montana, in the heart of the Swiss Alps.
'El Pisha', his best-known nickname, has signed a card with five birdies without misses (65) and has placed himself just two strokes behind the first six leaders of the tournament, including the Spanish Nacho Elvira (63), author of seven birdies on another bogey free card.
Jiménez has a record that shows his quality and passion for golf despite the passing of the years, since he is the oldest champion in the history of the European circuit, 50 years and 133 days old when he won the 2014 Spanish Open at the PGA of Catalonia.
That was his 21st title on tour.
That same year, 2014, he also achieved his first victory on the United States senior circuit, the Greater Gwinnett Championship, and since then he has already accumulated 13 titles, three in 2022, the Boeing Classic, the Hualalai Mitsubishi Electric Championship and the Cologuard Classic.
This season he hasn't won any yet, but he has 11 top-10s in 17 tournaments in which he hasn't missed a cut, results that currently sit him in 8th place in the Schwab Cup with $1.38 million in earnings, about 1.27 million euros.
The American Steve Stricker is the leader with 3.35 million euros. In the European Masters, the Malaysian Gavin Green, the Danish John Axelsen, the Japanese Masahiro Kawamura and the English Matt Fitzpatrick and Eddie Pepperell are the other five players who share the first position with Nacho Elvira after the initial round, the tournament after the which will define the European team for the Ryder Cup in Rome (September 29-October 1).
A 7th place on Sunday is enough for Fitzpatrick to get his direct ticket to the Ryder Cup on the world list, but if he does not get it, it is almost taken for granted that it would be one of the six personal choices of the captain, Luke Donald, who will reveal the Monday the whole team.
There is also a pending place on the European list and Adrián Otaegui is one of the six players who aspires to it. The Basque, who has started with 69 shots, needs to win the European Masters to have any chance of joining Jon Rahm in his own right, currently the only golfer with a guaranteed passport along with Rory McIlroy, Viktor Hovland and Tyrrell Hatton.