Veteran Jimenez eyes record

2012-03-16 21:29

Marbella - Spanish veteran Miguel Angel Jimenez put himself in a great position to become the European Tour's oldest winner on Friday when he moved within one shot of the lead at the Andalucia Open.

Tournament promoter Jimenez fired a second round 68, and having turned 48 in January, the Ryder Cup star would be 39 days older than record holder Des Smyth if he grabbed his 19th European Tour title on Sunday.

Spain's Eduardo de la Riva birdied the final hole at the Aloha Golf Club to claim the lead at the halfway stage.

Overnight leader Matteo Manassero of Italy, just 18, was also one off the pace but he would have been disappointed with his second round 73, having been three ahead on Thursday when he equalled the course record of 64.

"After a tough day out there I receive the news that ac Milan picked Barcelona in the quarterfinals #notmyday," wrote Manassero on Twitter.

De la Riva, ranked 610th in the world, is eight under for the tournament, a rare highlight in a career which has seen him make nine visits to qualifying school.

"I had a poor start," said 29-year-old de la Riva.

"I missed a three footer on the first and bogeyed the second from 20 feet. I was beginning to lose confidence, but then I hit it close and made birdie on the third - that settled me.

"I am very pleased with my birdie on 18 which is a challenging hole. I took a five wood and four iron over the water."

Jimenez and Manassero were joined at seven under by England's Tommy Fleetwood, Irishman Damien McGrane and Pablo Larrazabal of Spain.

Among those on six under are Ryder Cup stars Eduardo Molinari and Oliver Wilson, nine times a runner-up without ever winning.

Wilson, playing on an invitation, suffered from stomach ulcers and parasites from drinking water in Bahrain early in 2011, but is back to fitness now after finally having his system flushed out.

"It would be nice not to have to rely on invites, but that's the position I'm in," he said.

"Miguel's been fantastic. It means a lot, especially when it's another player."