Miguel Angel Jimenez toasts a vintage display at Hero Open

Ruben Hill
August 1, 2020

"For me it's incredible", Garcia Rodriguez said.

"To have all my colleagues here on the 18th hole, it's incredible".

On a day where the world's best golfers paid tribute to Jimenez during the live afternoon coverage of the Hero Open, the 21-time European Tour victor flew around Forest of Arden with eight birdies to lie tied second after 18 holes.

A bogey at the 10th followed and there was another dropped shot at 16 following back-to-back gains at the 13th and 14th but a second eagle of the day at the penultimate hole was followed by a birdie finish.

MIGUEL ANGEL JIMENEZ celebrated his record 707th European Tour appearance in superb style with a 64 in the first round of the Hero Open at the Forest of Arden.

"It's been a wonderful day", said Jimenez, who matched Sam Torrance's previous record of 706 in last week's British Masters.

"Eight under par with a attractive summer day and especially now on the 18th here with all my colleagues clapping for me, it's emotional". I appreciate that very much. It was really nice, very emotive. 'It's emotional. I enjoy everything about my life here.

After a solid two-putt par, Jimenez raised a glass of Rioja and received congratulations live from Torrance via videolink, and he expressed his vast pride in not only an excellent day's work, but in his life and career overall.

The 56- year-old made his Tour launching on house soil as a raw 19- year-old in 1983 and it took him 5 years to make his complete card, and he has actually amused every year while gathering 21 Tour titles and a host of records, consisting of the most holes-in-one and being the earliest victor - 3 times! "You never remember any boring moments".

"It's been a wonderful day", said the 56-year-old, who is already the oldest victor on Tour.

Pablo Larrazabal had nine birdies and a solitary bogey to join Jimenez at two off the pace and complete a Spanish top three at the top of the leaderboard.

European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley said: "I would like to congratulate Miguel Angel on behalf of everybody at the European Tour for this monumental achievement". "I know I shot nine under somewhere but eight under with a lost ball, I'm quite happy. The mistakes were a little bit wild, I made a lot of little mistakes but the birdies were there and it's different greens this week, which I like".

Oliver Farr of Wales was another shot back in fourth after finishing his first round with a 7-under 65 with England's Ashley Chesters and Danish teenager Rasmus Hojgaard a stroke further back.

However, one ingredient was missing for Jimenez as the European Tour continued its comeback behind closed doors.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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