Finally, Miguel Angel Jimenez had provided his pursuers an opening. Just as quickly, the 58-year-old Spaniard took the opportunity away.
“I hit one bad shot all day,” Jimenez said. “But I made a good approach to a couple of feet.”
That shot came on the par-three No. 13 hole at The Club at Snoqualmie Ridge, when he drove his ball over the back left side of the green and into the rough. Jimenez recovered with a lovely shot to two feet, tapped in to save par and maintained his two-shot advantage over eventual runner-up David McKenzie and went on to win the PGA Tour Champions Boeing Classic on Sunday with a 15-under score of 201.
“That was very important,” Jimenez said. “The approach was very important. That’s the only shot I missed in two and a half rounds. That was a miss and it’s nice to recover, you know. It was solid, solid.”
Jimenez earned the $330,000 winner’s share of the $2.2 million purse. He won for the third time this season on the Champions Tour, and for the 13th time overall on this circuit. He has 10 top-10 finishes in 2022.
McKenzie finished alone in second at 13-under to cash $193,600, his biggest Champions payday of the season.
Jimenez also extended a trend at the Boeing.
This weekend marked the fifth time in the tournament’s 17 years that two players were tied for the lead after the second round. Jimenez, who shared the 36-hole lead with Billy Andrade, was the fourth of those five co-leaders to win the tournament.
He did so with remarkably consistent performances over the final two days. After Jimenez bogeyed two of his first nine holes in the first round Friday, he completed his final 45 holes without another.
“It feels great,” Jimenez said. “I did not play very good all through the year, but today, yeah. But it’s been close to coming. I’m happy and I hit the ball all the week very solid.”
His final birdie came on the 12th hole Sunday and sent Jimenez to No. 13 with that two-shot lead. McKenzie birdied No. 12 just ahead of him to briefly cut the margin to one.
McKenzie had a golden opportunity for birdie on the 13th, playing just ahead of Jimenez in the penultimate group, but had his putt lip out. He settled for birdie.
“The one where I had a good look, it actually hit the hole and I thought it was in, was 13, the par 3,” McKenzie said. “I had good looks again, and those other ones I thought I hit them where I needed to, but they just didn’t break that way.”
When Jimenez hit his tee shot over the green behind McKenzie it appeared maybe things weren’t over. But the eventual champion made the recovery up-and-down. Ahead, McKenzie had another birdie chance slip past the hole, no matter what the scoreboard initially said.
The spectators briefly believed that the lead had been cut to just a single stroke again as a birdie three got posted for McKenzie on that reachable par 4. But McKenzie had laid up and missed that putt, which was corrected on the leaderboard a few minutes later, showing him still at minus-13 and still two shots back of the leader.
“All I can say, those final six holes I was sucking air,” McKenzie said. “I was just trying to get it close to the hole and give myself a chance and do nothing stupid. Fortunately I didn’t do anything stupid, but I also didn’t make any putts. So yeah, it was hard work into the last.”
McKenzie laid up on the 15th hole, a par 5, then left his pitch short under the hole and settled for par. That third consecutive failure to close the gap left McKenzie and the rest of the field only three holes to catch him.
Jimenez continued to be aggressive from there, hitting two monster shots that put him just off the front of the green at No. 15. Though he missed the birdie putt that would have gotten him to 16-under and extend the lead to three shots with three holes to play, he still had a gap to work with.
The runner-up finish was McKenzie’s best all year. He had only one previous Top 10 finish, back in early April.
“I have been playing well all year, but I hadn’t been playing a lot,” said McKenzie, who had large gaps between starts. “I think I played, going back to the Traditional. Played one week, then was off a week. So, all of a sudden it’s the first time I think all year that I have played two tournaments in a row. So hopefully, that’s just a bit of continuity to feel like I’m playing well, give myself chances, and hopefully that will continue.”
- Seattle native Fred Couples shot a 74 Sunday and finished in a tie for 28th. Pullman native Kirk Triplett shot a 76 and finished in a tie for 40th. Lakewood native Brian Mogg shot a 75 and finished 71st.