Spain’s Jimenez wins 3rd Hualalai title in playoff

Golf

KA’UPULEHU-KONA, Hawaii — Miguel Angel Jimenez is off to another great start on the PGA Tour Champions in Hawaii.

Jimenez, the cigar-smoking, free-spirited Spaniard, birdied the par-4 18th hole in regulation for a 6-under 66 and then beat Steven Alker on the second playoff hole to win the season-opening Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai for the third time.

“It’s a nice way to start a season. It’s nice to be here, winning again in Hualalai,” Jimenez said. “The golf course, I like it very much. The golf course is set up in beautiful condition this year. They make it very good here at Hualalai.”

Jimenez won two years ago in a playoff, along with winning outright in 2015. The season opener is for winners from the last two years and senior major champions from the last five years, along with a few sponsor exemptions.

Alker had no PGA Tour Champions status late last year under getting it through a qualifier and then finishing in the top 10 each week to keep playing, eventually winning. He also closed with a 66 to join Jimenez at 17-under 199.

They finished one shot ahead of Vijay Singh and Stephen Ames, who each birdied the final hole for a 68.

Ernie Els, who had the lead going into the final day. couldn’t keep up and had to settle for a 70. He finished three shots behind.

Alker had a chance to win with a birdie at the 18th on the first extra hole, narrowly missing the cut. Playing the 18th again in the playoff, his approach came off the green and into a bunker, and he failed to save par.

“It was fun to get in position and have a chance,” Alker said.

David Duval made his debut on the 50-and-older circuit and closed with a 72 to tie for 34th.

Jimenez joined Bernhard Langer as the only three-time winner of the tournament. It was his 11th career victory on the PGA Tour Champions, four of them in playoffs.

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