Jimenez looks to become oldest Masters winner

Miguel Angel Jimenez has always likened himself to a bottle of Rioja – the older it gets, the better he gets.

And the Rioja will be overflowing and the cigars will be handed around if the 50-year old Spaniard wins the 2014 Masters.

Miguel Angel Jimenez Miguel Angel Jimenez (Credit: Anthony Powter)

At 50 years of age, the Malaga-born golfer is now just one round away from becoming the oldest-ever Masters champion after his first round 66 that left him just two shots behind Bubba Watson and Augusta rookie Jordan Spieth, who shot a 70 to move to five under par.

Unfortunately the chances of a back-to-back Aussie Masters victory took a beating today with both Adam Scott and John Senden sliding down the leaderboard with rounds of 3-over and 4-over respectively. Jason Day continues to make ground and now sits seven strokes off the lead.

The pony-tailed Spaniard is one of six players 50 years or older to play all four rounds of this year’s Masters, where Jack Nicklaus became the tournament’s oldest champion at age 46 in 1986.

“If you are 50 doesn’t mean that you cannot play well,” said Jimenez.

“I’m still moving. I’m still flexible,” said Jimenez smiling.

That’s evident to anyone who has ever seen his unique stretching routine, and a routine that someone once commented would get a stripper arrested.

“The main thing is enjoy yourself, enjoy what you are doing and smile,” said Jimenez.

“Not enough people smile on the golf course. I love what I’m doing, and I hope I’m still in the same conditions for another 25 (years). I’m not going to get bored of myself.”

He has certainly enjoyed himself this week at Augusta National, where he has three top 10 finishes and was 10 shots better on Saturday than he was in the second round.

Jimenez grabbed the lowest round of the week, to earn a set of crystal goblets, in a display that included seven birdies and one bogey and his 66 is the low round of the week so far.

Though making the Ryder Cup team remains his chief objective this year, time seems to stop and some of his best golf emerges when he walks through the gates at Augusta National.

“I love the place,” he added. ”It’s a beautiful place, a beautiful golf course, always manicured and I feel great here.

“Doesn’t matter how you play, you feel good, because everything is prepared for us the way it is. If you don’t hit good, you don’t want to be there. You need to hit good and you need to be patient, and you need to be into your own zone. I like it and that’s my style of game and what I love, what I love to do.”

And imagine the emotion should Jimenez succeed.

He will become the third Spaniard to be fitted for an Augusta National members green jacket after the late, great Seve Ballesteros and double Masters winning Jose Maria Olazabal.