Jimenez putts with wedge on way to share of lead


2009 European TourRIFFA, Bahrain – Miguel Angel Jimenez made three birdies using a lob wedge after breaking his putter to grab a share of the lead halfway through the Volvo Champions on Friday.

Jimenez was joined atop a packed leaderboard by Edoardo Molinari of Italy and Raphael Jacquelin of France, who all shot identical 7-under-par 65s. With them on 11-under 133 at Royal Golf Club was Peter Hanson of Sweden, who bogeyed the 8th hole – his 17th – to miss taking the outright lead. Hanson shot 67.

The four leaders were only a stroke in front of Stephen Gallacher of Scotland, who shot the day’s best round of 64, Paul Casey (67), Darren Clarke (65) and James Kingston (67) of South Africa.

In all, there were 25 players within three shots of the lead after two rounds of the new European Tour event.

After the severity of the greens came in for heavy criticism from notably Casey and Ian Poulter, generous pin positions and receptive greens after a slight early morning drizzle made it easy for the professionals to aim at the flag.

But not for the 46-year-old Jimenez early on.

Disgusted with missing several short putts, the Spaniard snapped his putter in two on the 13th hole.

That should have dropped him out of contention. Instead, he found a groove with his lob wedge to make three birdie putts coming in, including a 15-footer on the 16th.

“I played so good today and I had so many chances for birdie,” Jimenez said. “I missed like 3-foot putts a few times, so I just slammed the putter and, unfortunately, the bag came in the way!

“I am now thinking that I putted so well with the lob wedge, whether I should keep it for tomorrow’s round, too.”

Molinari started with six birdies in his first six holes, then parred his way through before making a birdie on the final hole.

Jacquelin, looking for his first win since 2007 in Shanghai, was in superb form with his putter and made eight birdies and a solitary bogey in his round.

Overnight leader Johan Edfors (71) of Sweden fell into a tie for ninth place at 9-under 135, where he was joined by Edoardo’s younger brother Francesco.

The resurgent Sergio Garcia made a birdie on his final hole to join a group of six players at 136.