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Miguel Angel Jimenez gave himself another chance to become the European Tour?s oldest-ever winner

Updated: November 16, 2012, 07:29


Miguel Angel Jimenez gave himself another chance to become the European Tour’s oldest-ever winner when he began the UBS Hong Kong Open with a five under par 65 today.

Two months away from his 49th birthday, the Spaniard started with a hat-trick of birdies and was clear of the field until finishing with back-to-back bogeys at the ninth and 10th.

That gave Jimenez an early one-stroke lead over Europe’s Ryder Cup captain Jose Maria Olazabal – Jimenez was an assistant in Chicago – Swede Fredrik Andersson Hed and also China’s Zhang Liang-wei.

World number one Rory McIlroy, who won the title last year by holing a bunker shot on the final hole, was out in the afternoon and stood one over par after six holes.

He also kicked off with a bogey, birdied the long third, but dropped another shot at the 436-yard sixth.

Jimenez has slumped from 44th in the world to 98th this season and is close to becoming only the sixth player to appear in 600 Tour events.

The 65 matched his lowest score of the year. He had a hat-trick of birdies from the 11th, finished the back nine with two more and made further gains at the third and sixth before slipping up at his final hole.

Olazabal will be 47 next February and is down at 455th in the world, but he made a fine return to the course where he had the 22nd of his 23 European Tour wins a decade ago.

Experience appeared to be counting for a lot – Zhang is 47 and Andersson Hed 40 - while New Zealand’s former US Open champion Michael Campbell, now 43, was among those in the clubhouse on three under.

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