Miguel Angel Jimenez rolls back the years at Shot Clock Masters
By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 10/06/18 6:15pm
Miguel Angel Jimenez enjoyed a quick start to the Shot Clock Masters as he ended the opening day one shot off the lead in Austria.
The 54-year-old gave himself a strong platform to extend his own record as the oldest winner on the European Tour after three birdies over the last four holes capped a five-under 67, leaving him just one behind leader Oscar Lengden.
Jimenez and playing-partners Wade Ormsby and Nicolas Colsaerts completed their rounds in three hours, 57 minutes in the first professional tournament with the entire field having a time limit on every shot.
The players at the Diamond Country Club have 50 seconds to hit if they are the first in their group to play, and the limit reduces to 40 seconds for the second and third shots in the group.
But 120 players in the field escaped a one-shot penalty for going over the limit, and the swift pace of play was clearly suited to Jimenez as he picked up five shots over the final eight holes after undoing a fine start with bogeys at the sixth and eighth.
"I've never played that quick before," said the popular Spaniard after being informed his group had got round in less than four hours. "I felt like I was running a marathon out there but it was good."
Lengden will have the outright lead overnight after he opened with a bogey-free 66, while fellow Swede and two-time Ryder Cup player Peter Hanson joined Jimenez and Tapio Pulkkanen in a share of second place.
"On the 10th, I actually took a lot of time and I think I had four seconds left or something," said Lengden, who won the Challenge de Espana on the European Challenge Tour last month. "But I think this kind of system fits me well. I'm a quick player, I like playing quick, I dislike waiting. For me it feels great out there."
Anders Hansen added to the presence of veterans at the top end of the leaderboard as the Dane fired a solid 68 along with the Scottish pair of Connor Syme and Bradley Neil, while Soren Kjeldsen is one stroke further back.
There was also an encouraging start for 17-year-old amateur Tom McKibbin, who hails from the same club in Northern Ireland as Rory McIlroy and marked his European Tour debut with a one-under 71.