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Jimenez shoots 65 to lead Greater Gwinnett field

April 19, 2014

DULUTH, Georgia (AP) — After shooting a course record in his first round on the Champions Tour, Miguel Angel Jimenez proclaimed “I love it!” and then departed in search of his usual post-round refreshments.

So far, life is good for the Spaniard on the 50-and-over tour. Avoiding a post-Masters letdown, Jimenez had an eagle and five birdies in his 65 on Friday to lead the cold, soggy Greater Gwinnett Championship by three strokes.

“Very good start,” Jimenez said.

“Now it’s time for a nice, warm shower, a nice fat cigar and a glass of Rioja. ... I’m desperate to find one of my cigars and have a glass of wine.”

Jimenez, coming off a fourth-place finish in the Masters, was 6 under on his first nine holes, including an eagle on No. 18. He added another birdie on No. 2 and closed with seven straight pars at TPC Sugarloaf.

Bernhard Langer set the previous tournament record with a 66 while winning last year’s inaugural championship.

Langer, Steve Pate and Kenny Perry are three strokes behind Jimenez.

Perry thought Jimenez might have a letdown after his strong finish at the Masters.

“It’s so much more laid back and relaxed over here,” Perry said. “I didn’t think he would shoot 65. I thought he’d be more the other way, after a fourth-place finish, it’d be a letdown this week.

“He’s amazing. He’s fun to watch. He’s a great player.”

The 65 came six days after Jimenez shot the low round of the Masters, a third-round 66.

Jimenez is focused on making the European Ryder Cup team and may have limited time on the 50-and-over Champions Tour this year. Perry, the 2013 player of the year, said Jimenez will be good for the tour.

“We need guys like that out here,” Perry said. “He’s a huge fan favorite. He brings a lot of flair and class to golf and he just has a good time.”

Fred Couples shot a 69, including a double bogey on No. 9, his finishing hole. Jeff Sluman also shot a 69.

Though light rain began soon after the round began and became more intense in the afternoon, there was no delay.

“It was as cold and ugly as you can get,” Langer said. “It never stopped raining on us for two minutes.”

Pate called his 68 “kind of unexpected” and a product of “smoke and mirrors.” He said he struggled more with the cold than the rain.

“I just got cold and it was hard to move,” Pate said. “We’re old. We don’t like cold weather.”

Colin Montgomerie was part of a group of four at 70.

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