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Golf | European Tour

Miguel Angel Jiménez © Getty Images

Jiménez shares lead in Switzerland

Miguel Angel Jiménez, Tyrrell Hatton and Scott Hend will take a share of the lead into the second round of the Omega European Masters after an enthralling first day at Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club in Switzerland.

Spaniard Jiménez already has a win at this event as he looks to extend his record as the European Tour's oldest winner while Australia's Hend is seeking redemption after losing in a playoff to Alex Noren last term.

For Englishman Hatton, a victory this week would represent a stunning return to form for a player who has made just two of his last nine cuts.

They all fired rounds of 64 in the Swiss mountains to get to six under, a shot clear of Scottish duo David Drysdale and Duncan Stewart, South African Darren Fichardt, Kiwi Ryan Fox, Thai Thongchai Jaidee and Australian Todd Sinnott.

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Jiménez, 53, won the Open de España in 2014 at the age of 50 years and 133 days and while he now plays a lot of seniors golf, he showed he still has the game to mix it with the young guns.

The 2010 champion made a bogey on the 11th but bounced back on the 12th, took advantage of the back-to-back par five 14th and 15th and birdied the 18th to turn in 32.

Further gains on the second and third followed and after he got up and down for par from the sand on the sixth, a stunning draw with a three wood off the tee on the signature seventh left him six feet for eagle, although he had to settle for birdie.

Hatton got as high as 14th in the Official World Golf Ranking in March but has fallen to 30th after what he admits has been a disappointing summer.

He holed his second on the par four 12th and birdies on the 15th, 17th and 18th saw him turn in 30 and lead. A bogey on the first threatened to derail his progress but gains on the sixth and seventh got him back on top.

Hend made a hat-trick of birdies from the 13th and while he dropped a shot on the 16th, he picked it back up on the 18th. Birdies on the second and seventh put him in contention and a closing gain saw him share top spot.

Stewart hit the opening tee-shot of the tournament and wasted no time in posting a competitive score with a bogey-free 65.

The Challenge Tour graduate will need a good finish to the season to keep his playing privileges and he was excellent on Thursday, making gains on the fifth, seventh, 14th, 17th and last to set the early target.

Drysdale holed his second on the par four second and after bogeying the next, birdies on the seventh, tenth, 12th, 14th and 16th had him in a share of the lead before he bogeyed the 17th.

Sinnott made four birdies in a row from the 14th and then added another on the ninth, while Fichardt was also bogey-free with gains on the 13th, 15th, fifth, seventh and ninth.

Fox is enjoying an excellent rookie season and while he had a double-bogey on the 12th, he also made eight birdies to go with a further blemish on the eighth.

Jaidee was a picture of consistency, making four birdies in a row from the seventh and adding another on the 15th.

American Daniel Im made the 31st ace of the season and 999th in European Tour history as his seven iron from 203 yards took one bounce and rolled into the cup on the eighth.

He added to gains on the 13th, 15th, seventh and ninth after he had started with bogeys on the 11th and 12th to get to four under alongside amateur countryman Sean Crocker, Brazilian Adilson Da Silva, Spaniard Carlos Pigem and Paraguayan Fabrizio Zanotti.

Lee Westwood fired an opening one over par 71 in his 500th European Tour start.

Article source: www.europeantour.com


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