Jimenez defeats Westwood in Dubai playoff


2009 European TourDUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Miguel Angel Jimenez didn't play great golf in Sunday's playoff, but did enough to defeat Lee Westwood and win the Dubai Desert Classic.

Jimenez netted three pars in the extra session and the last one was enough to topple Westwood, last year's Race to Dubai winner.

Jimenez and Westwood, two of four third-round co-leaders, headed to the par-4 ninth at the Emirates Golf Club for the third playoff hole. Westwood had good looks at victory on both previous holes and Jimenez did his share of scrambling, but they were even on No. 9.

Westwood found the fairway off the tee at the ninth, while Jimenez missed the short grass in the left first cut. Jimenez came up short and right with his approach, but Westwood was almost a club short and nearly met a watery problem.

Miguel Angel Jimenez
Miguel Angel Jimenez poses with the XL Dubai trophy. (Getty Images)
Jimenez chipped to 4 feet and Westwood pitched to five feet. Westwood missed his par putt and Jimenez drained his for his 16th European Tour victory and ninth since he turned 40.

Thongchai Jaidee, the third of four third-round co-leaders, had a 1-over 73 and missed the playoff by a single stroke at minus-10.

Martin Kaymer, who won the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship two weeks ago, posted a 2-under 70 and shared fourth place with Edoardo Molinari, who had a 71 on Sunday. The pair finished at 9-under 279.

That wasn't quite enough to get into the sudden-death session between Jimenez and Westwood.

Both playoff combatants had even-par 72s on Sunday and finished regulation tied at 11-under 277. Jimenez birdied the 17th and Westwood the 18th to put the two into a sudden-death playoff.

Westwood appeared to have the advantage on the first playoff trip through the par-5 18th. Jimenez laid up short of the water, while Westwood knocked it just left of the green. Jimenez nearly rolled into the pond with his third, but was safe and actually got up and down for par. Westwood had 10 feet for the birdie and the win, but played too much break and it was back to the tee for the second playoff hole.

If the first extra hole was advantage Westwood, the second time around in sudden death it was absolutely his for the taking. Jimenez drove into the rough and once again had to lay up, only this time he had 200 yards for his third. Westwood's fairway-metal second rolled over the back and Jimenez' third found a bunker.

Westwood hit an average chip and left himself with 15 feet downhill for birdie. Jimenez blasted out to 12 feet, so Westwood stepped over his putt in great shape. He missed, but tapped in for par and had to wait for Jimenez to make his to extend the playoff.

'The Mechanic' poured his par save into the middle of the cup and it was off to the par-4 ninth and eventually the winner's circle for the 46-year-old Spaniard.

Jimenez had an average day in windy conditions on Sunday. With several players, including Westwood, Jaidee and Alvaro Quiros, on top of the leaderboard, Jimenez plodded along.

He made bogey at the sixth, then went birdie-bogey immediately after the turn. Jimenez still trailed and didn't move in front until his third birdie in four rounds at the 17th.

Westwood caught him with a birdie on the 18th in the final group.

The final 54-hole leader to finish on Sunday was Quiros, a runner-up last week in Qatar. Quiros owned the lead for a good portion of the back nine until three late bogeys led him to a 3-over 75.

Quiros shared sixth place with last year's winner Rory McIlroy, who managed a 1-over 73 in the final round. McIlroy and Quiros came in at 8-under-par 280.

Tom Watson, 60, played his first European Tour event since 1993 and was brilliant on Sunday. He shot a 4-under 68 and tied for eighth with world No. 10 Henrik Stenson and Gregory Bourdy. Both Stenson and Bourdy had 68s as well on Sunday and the trio was knotted at minus-6.

'I'm obviously very happy with how I played today,' said Watson. 'It was a good week. I've enjoyed it very much. It was a learning experience here in Dubai.