Miguel Angel Jimenez walked off the 18th green Thursday at the Hero Open and sipped a glass of rioja.
How else to celebrate a new European Tour record?
The 56-year-old Spaniard passed Sam Torrance’s longstanding mark by making his 707th career start on the European Tour. Jimenez did so in style, firing a bogey-free 8-under 64 to sit just two shots off the lead.
Jimenez had made Torrance’s record a goal and succeeded despite the coronavirus pandemic upending the European Tour’s schedule this summer. As he gears up for a return to the PGA Tour Champions, Jimenez has remained highly competitive. Earlier this month he held the 36-hole lead at the Austrian Open before finishing in eighth place, and last week, during the first stop on the European Tour’s U.K. Swing, he tied for 38th.
In the opening round at Forest of Arden Marriott Hotel & Country Club, Jimenez carded eight birdies as he looks to capture his 22nd career European Tour title. Sebastian Garcia Rodriguez leads the way after a 10-under 62.
When he finished his round, Jimenez spoke via video conference with Torrance and raised a glass of red wine.
“I’m very proud of the record,” Torrance told him, “but I can’t give it to someone better. Muy bien (very good).”