Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Cup King Ian on Verge of Quitting

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Cup King Ian on Verge of Quitting

Article excerpt

Byline: By Mark Garrod

Ryder Cup captain Ian Woosnam revealed he was thinking about wrapping up his playing career after finishing fifth behind Miguel Angel Jimenez in the Celtic Manor Wales Open.

Woosnam went into the final round a shot off the lead ( but again struggled with his putting and could manage only a closing 68.

"I am going to go away now and chuck the clubs away for a few weeks. Might chuck them away all together," said the 47-year-old, without a strokeplay title since 1997.

"I am close to it. If my putting doesn't improve, they are going in the bag forever. I'm cheesed off with it.

"I missed a four-footer for birdie on the fourth and missed from 14 inches on the sixth.

"I started off playing beautifully but when I missed that 14-incher it just put so much pressure on me and I just lost it a bit.

"I was just hoping the round was over and I could get out of here. Over the years the putting seems to have gone and it is annoying.

"I have to hit it so close all the time to get anywhere and I put so much pressure on myself all the time."

In stark contrast, Jimenez carded a superb final round 62 to claim his sixth title in 16 months, the 41-year-old covering the last 14 holes in eight-under with six birdies and an eagle to equal the course record and claim the pounds 250,000 first prize.

The Spaniard's 14-under total left him four shots clear of Sweden's Martin Erlandsson ( the world No 619 carding a brilliant 63 ( and Spain's Jose Manuel Lara.

Jimenez got off to a poor start with a bogey on the second and found himself three off the pace after a flying start from Mansfield's Oliver Wilson, who birdied five holes in a row from the second to take the lead.

But as Wilson faltered with a double bogey on the ninth Jimenez was beginning to find his form and picked up three birdies before the turn to get back into contention.

A birdie on the 13th gave him a share of the lead and he went in front for the first time with another from six feet on the 14th.

A play-off still looked a distinct possibility however until the Ryder Cup star smashed a three-wood 253 yards onto the green on the 529-yard 16th and holed the eagle putt from 40 feet.

"The key today was my putting," said Jimenez, who claimed his second European Tour title of the season. "I hit it very well and made only one mistake and then the birdies came.

"The putt on the 16th was about 40ft and I just tried to control the pace.

"The green had a little hump in the middle and I just tried to make a solid putt and the ball dropped in the hole. I was delighted to make an eagle."

Jimenez will travel to next week's US Open at Pinehurst full of confidence and added: "I hope I hit the ball like that.

"I'm looking forward to having a rest this week with my family and then fly out on Sunday to the US Open. …

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