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Jiménez and Els named as Golfers of the Month for January and February

 Miguel Angel Jimenez

Miguel Angel Jiménez’s thrilling victory in the Johnnie Walker Classic and Ernie Els’s dramatic defence of the Heineken Classic have been recognised by their selection as European Tour Golfers of the Month for January and February respectively.

For Jiménez, the award continued a superb run of form which began last October when he won the Turespaña Mallorca Classic and which has seen him force his way into the upper echelons of the Volvo Order of Merit as well as The Ryder Cup World Points List and The Ryder Cup European Points List. It also helped the Spaniard move within a finger touch of £6 million in total European Tour career earnings.

At the Alpine Golf & Sports Club in Bangkok, Thailand, Jiménez produced stunning golf to come from one shot behind Denmark’s Thomas Björn going into the last round to win the Johnnie Walker Classic by two shots after a superb closing 68.

Although naturally disappointed, Björn was fulsome in his praise of the Spaniard. “The golf that Miguel played on the front nine of the final round was out of this world – magnificent, really magnificent,” he said. “He’s tough and would be a good guy to have on the (Ryder Cup) team.”

While it was Jiménez’s final round flourish which secured him the title, it was the way that Els began the Heineken Classic at Royal Melbourne Golf Club, Victoria, Australia, which caught the eye and laid the foundations for his third successive victory in the event.

Ernie Els
The South African, who won the Golfer of the Year award in 2003, opened with a 12 under par 60, only the 12th player in history to card a 60 in official European Tour competition and, when he followed that with a 66, his 18 under par halfway total of 126 was the lowest 36 hole total in relation to par in European Tour history.

Despite a late flurry by Adam Scott, Els retained his composure to triumph and become only the fifth player on The European Tour – following Ian Woosnam (Monte Carlo Open 1990-92), Nick Faldo (Irish Open 1991-93), Colin Montgomerie (Volvo PGA Championship 1998-00) and Tiger Woods (WGC – NEC Invitational 1999-01) - to win the same tournament three years in a row.

Representatives on the judging panel from the Association of Golf Writers considered an impressive list of winners for both months.

In January they were headed by Trevor Immelman, who successfully defended his South African Airways Open title, Marcel Siem, who came through a play-off to claim his maiden European Tour title in the dunhill championship, and Els, who successfully defended his Sony Open in Hawaii title on the US PGA Tour.

In February, candidates considered included Brian Davis, whose win in the ANZ Championship helped him qualify for a debut in next week’s Masters Tournament, Thongchai Jaidee, who became the first Thai golfer to win on The European Tour when he claimed the Carlsberg Malaysian Open, Vijay Singh, who won the AT&T; Pebble Beach National Pro-Am on the US PGA Tour, and John Daly, who followed Singh with victory in the Buick Invitational.

The award is presented to a European Tour Member each month from January to November for his performances on The European Tour International Schedule and in worldwide competition. At the end of the season, the panel will select the Golfer of the Year.



Courtesy of www.europeantour.com

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