MIGUEL Ángel Jiménez has his sights trained on emulating his late friend, Seve Ballesteros, when he defends The Senior Open Presented by Rolex at Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club from July 25-28.
The Spaniard, who triumphed on the Old Course at St Andrews last year, will look to follow in his countryman’s footsteps by winning at both The Home of Golf and Royal Lytham & St Annes to join Ballesteros as well as Bobby Jones, Bobby Locke and Peter Thomson as the only golfers to have prevailed at both iconic venues.
“I’ve played well at Royal Lytham & St Annes and I like it very much,” he said. “I hope I can do what Seve has done there. He’s won there twice, but he also won another Open at St Andrews.
“Having won at St Andrews last year, I hope I can follow him and get another title at Royal Lytham & St Annes. That would be amazing.”
Jiménez has a strong track record in The Open at Royal Lytham & St Annes, having finished tied third in 2001 and tied ninth in 2012. Should he retain the Senior Open trophy he would become only the third player in history to successfully defend Europe’s Senior Major Championship, joining Brian Barnes (1995-96) and Christy O’Connor Jnr (1999-2000).
Last year, the 55-year-old withstood a final round charge from 2017 champion Bernhard Langer to claim a one stroke victory and earn his second Senior Major title, and he is eager to build on his growing list of accomplishments in senior golf.
“I had no Majors in my regular career, and then last year there were two,” he said. “After winning my first in May last year, well, I pushed myself to have another one—that is amazing, no?
“Everybody wants to win a Major at The Home of Golf. It was a nice, beautiful victory last year at St Andrews. It was amazing. I’m now looking forward to getting back to Royal Lytham & St Annes. That is a nice track and one I like very much.”
Having represented Team Europe on four occasions at The Ryder Cup, Jimenez will add to a Senior Open field which includes his two winning captains, Bernhard Langer and Colin Montgomerie, teammates Paul Lawrie, Darren Clarke and Paul McGinley as well as a host of Major Champions and European Tour winners.