Miguel An­gel Jimenez leads Re­gions Tra­di­tion

Imperial Valley Press - - SPORTS -

BIRM­ING­HAM, Ala. ( AP) — Miguel An­gel Jimenez matched the course record with an 8-un­der 64 on Thurs­day to take the first- round lead in the Re­gions Tra­di­tion, the first of the PGA Tour Cham­pi­ons’ five ma­jor cham­pi­onships.

Jimenez birdied the first four holes and broke the front-nine record at 6-un­der 30 at Grey­stone Golf & Coun­try Club. The Spa­niard took the out­right lead with a short birdie putt on No. 13 af­ter a rain de­lay of 1 hour, 17 min­utes.

Jimenez tied the course record set by Kenny Perry in the first round in 2016 and matched by Bern­hard Langer in the fi­nal round a year ago. Jimenez also opened with a 64 in the Chubb Clas­sic be­fore fin­ish­ing ninth.

“The only hole I didn’t play well, the 18th, but I missed my driver,” Jimenez said. “We were rushed look­ing at the weather com­ing or not and the gust­ing wind started to come in and I rushed my­self.”

Gene Sauers, Wes Short Jr., Jerry Kelly and Joe Du­rant were sec­ond at 66.

Two- time defending cham­pion Langer closed with a birdie for a 70. He has a record 10 se­nior ma­jor ti­tles and is try­ing to be­come the first to win the Tra­di­tion three straight years since it be­gan in 1989.

The round be­gan with an early two-tee start to try to beat the rain that be­came a down­pour around lunchtime. It will have a sim­i­lar sched­ule Fri­day.

Du­rant closed with an ea­gle on the par- 5 18th hole to help over­come two bo­geys on the first five holes.

“It was a nice fin­ish,” he said. “We were try­ing to beat the storm, too, so we were hur­ry­ing on the last hole. I was for­tu­nate to hit a good sec­ond shot and then made a long putt, so we got it done.”

Kelly, mean­while, got his ea­gle early on No. 2 and was 4 un­der af­ter four holes, jok­ing that he “was shoot­ing for 54.”

“I haven’t got­ten o to a good start for a while, so it was re­ally nice to get com­fort­able again,” Kelly said. “I feel like I’ve been on edge for quite a few months. Just go­ing to try and take it easy as it comes the rest of the way.”

Sauers, whose only PGA Tour Cham­pi­ons win came in the 2016 U.S. Se­nior Open Cham­pi­onship, went bo­gey-free.

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