Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Jimenez returns to Wentworth Triumph

Spaniard Miguel Angel Jiménez will return to the scene of his greatest triumph next month to attempt to become only the third man - after England’s Nick Faldo and Scotland’s Colin Montgomerie - to successfully defend the BMW PGA Championship. Jiménez’s play-off victory over England’s Oliver Wilson at Wentworth Club, the 15th title of his illustrious European Tour career, earned the Spaniard €750,000 – a sum which contributed substantially to a record season’s earnings of €2,066,596, fourth place on The European Tour Order of Merit. and a place in Nick Faldo’s European Ryder Cup Team at Valhalla Golf Club in Kentucky. When the 2009 edition of the BMW PGA Championship takes place from May 21-24, the 45 year old will seek to emulate Faldo, who triumphed in 1980 before successfully defending his title in 1981, and Montgomerie, who lifted the trophy three years running from 1998-2000. Jiménez said: “It felt great to win last year as it meant I’d won three BMW events - the BMW Asian Open and the BMW International Open in 2004 and then the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth in my 20th season on The European Tour. That was a fantastic feeling. The BMW PGA Championship is probably the most important tournament on The European Tour, so it was definitely the biggest win of my career. “To do it in a play-off, and beat a very good player like Oliver, made it feel even more special. The play-off was good for the fans because it made it more exciting, and it was also good for the sponsors because it gave them more opportunities to show pictures of BMWs on television. “Winning last year went a long way to ensuring I qualified for The Ryder Cup which was a great personal thrill. I find it hard to believe that we are just a few weeks away from my defence of the title and I can’t wait to get back to Wentworth and re-live all the wonderful memories of last year.” Jiménez is part of a strong Spanish contingent confirmed in the 150-man field, with his compatriots Rafael Cabrera Bello, Alejandro Cañizares, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castaño, former champion Ignacio Garrido, José Manuel Lara, Pablo Larrazábal, Alvaro Quiros and Alvaro Velasco also heading to Wentworth Club. Between them Fernandez-Castaño, Garrido, Jiménez, Lara and Larrazábal have collected an impressive 23 European Tour titles, with Jiménez contributing no fewer than 15. Cabrera Bello and Open de France ALSTOM winner Larrazabal will be making their BMW PGA Championship debuts this year, with all three dreaming of becoming the sixth Spanish winner of the event after Manuel Piñero (who won in 1997), Seve Ballesteros (1983 and 1991), José Maria Olazábal (1994), Garrido (2003) and, of course, Jiménez last year.

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