RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Miguel Angel Jimenez turned a day off for torrential rain into an advantage in the final round of the rain-delayed Dominion Energy Charity Classic.
Jimenez repeatedly hit the ball close to the pins on greens softened by Sunday rain and tied the course record with a 9-under 63 on Monday to win the opening event of the PGA Tour Champions’ three-tournament Charles Schwab Cup playoffs by two shots over second-round co-leader Tommy Tolles.
“Everything,” Jimenez said when asked what was working for him. “Even if I missed some fairways on the edge of the fairways, … my irons are amazing to the flag.”
Jimenez made nine birdies in a bogey-free trip over the Country Club of Virginia’s James River course to tie the record set by Kevin Sutherland in 2016 and matched by Bernhard Langer and Vijay Singh the following year. The victory, his second of the season, moved him from 22nd and 10th in the playoff standings.
His first birdie came on the par-3 fourth hole, and “then I feel good the whole way on the golf course,” he said.
Tolles remained winless in three years on the tour for players 50 and older, but made an eagle on the par-5 last hole to finish at 4 under and beat Colin Montgomerie by one shot.
The performance moved Tolles from 59th in the standings to 37th, guaranteeing him a spot in the Invesco QQQ Championship on Nov. 1-3 in Thousand Oaks, California. Only the top 54 players in the standings qualify for the second playoff event.
“I hadn’t made anything all day so I didn’t expect it to go in,” Tolles said of the final putt. “It was a fairly simple putt, 15 feet straight down the hill.”
Montgomerie, who began the day one shot behind Tolles and Scott Parel, also closed with a 68. He declined to speak with reporters afterward.
Woody Austin, Bernhard Langer and Parel finished five shots back.
Austin, the defending champion, was on his way to a possible second-place finish at 8 under after 16 holes, but he stumbled at the finish, shooting 65.
“Three putts for the last two holes and still shoot 65. That’s pretty bad but that’s my game,” he said after signing his card and letting out a load groan. “Even when I putt good I still putt bad.”
Austin will start the next event in fifth place, trailing only Scott McCarron, Jerry Kelly, Kirk Triplett and Langer.
“The big picture is I want to have a shot at that Schwab Cup and getting to second would have been a good boost for me,” he said.
Langer closed with a 68 and played with Jimenez. Not keeping pace was frustrating, he said, “but it’s fun to see that somebody can do it.”