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Jiménez Wins in Portugal
Spain’s Miguel Angel Jiménez climbed to the top of the Volvo Order of Merit and The Ryder Cup European Points List after capturing the Algarve Open de Portugal Caixa Geral de Depositos with a two stroke victory over Australian Terry Price at Le Meridien Penina.

Jiménez birdied two of the last three holes for a closing 67, five under par, and a 16 under par total of 272 to win the €208,330 first prize which lifted him above Northern Ireland’s Darren Clarke at the top of the Volvo Order of Merit with €514,092.

His ninth European Tour title in his 360th event also lifted him to the top of The Ryder Cup European Points List with 1,027,946 points, bringing the Spaniard a step closer to earning his second Ryder Cup appearance at Oakland Hills Country Club from September 17-19.

Jiménez, the first multiple winner on The 2004 European Tour International Schedule having captured the Johnnie Walker Classic in January, has now won three times in his last 11 events since winning the Turespaña Mallorca Classic in October 2003, soon after the Ryder Cup race began.

“I am very, very happy,” said Jiménez. “The most important thing is that I played very well all week. If I missed the shot I always recovered. Today I played very well. Hit it very good from the tee, gave myself chances for birdie and made a few of them.

“I felt good all week, only making three bogeys in four rounds. I knew Terry Price had finished with 14 under par. I was 15 under par then made the bogey and that happens. But I never got nervous and fortunately made two coming in.”

Regarding the prospect of making the European Team for The 35th Ryder Cup Matches, Jiménez said: “It is very important for me to get in The Ryder Cup. The sensations you get at that tournament are something amazing. I would love to be at the Ryder Cup again. The spirit is different, something special and I would love to be there.”

Jiménez, joint leader with fellow Spaniard Ignacio Garrido, the reigning Volvo PGA Champion, and England’s David Lynn at the start of the third round on 11 under par, pulled clear with four birdies in his first 11 holes. Three putts on the par three 13th caused his only bogey but he edged ahead over the closing holes, converting a curling left to right 25 foot birdie putt on the 16th and then getting up and down from a bunker on the left of the 18th green for a closing birdie.

Price, who regained his card through the Qualifying School after narrowly missing out on a place in the top 115 in 2003, made Jiménez work hard for his victory after an eight under par 64, equaling the new course record for the championship course at Le Meridien Penina set earlier in the day by Swede Robert Karlsson. With the final group still facing eight holes, it was an imposing target of 14 under par 274.

“It was a great day for scoring and to put a score like that on the board was very pleasing,” said Price. “I came out thinking a 63 might just do it but any time you shot 64 you have to be happy.”

Swede Klas Eriksson and Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell both shot rounds of 67 to finish a further shot back on 13 under par 275 while Garrido and Lynn shared fifth place after rounds of 71 with Welshman David Park (69) and Frenchman Jean-Francois Remesy (68) on 12 under par 276.

Courtesy of www.europeantour.com  

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