Miguel Angel Jimenez hangs on to slight lead at Madison

PUBLISHED: Sat, 12 Jun 2021 23:09:53 GMT
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Spain’s Miguel Angel Jimenez shot a 3-under-par 69 Saturday in the American Family Insurance Championship at Madison, Wis., and will take a one-shot lead into Sunday’s final round.

Jimenez, who also had the lead after Friday’s opening round, is at 10-under 134, one shot ahead of Fred Couples, who shot a 5-under 67 in the second round at University Ridge Golf Course.

A three-way tie for third place at 8-under included South Africa’s Retief Goosen, as well as Jim Furyk and Madison native Jerry Kelly. Goosen and Furyk each shot a 4-under 68 in the second round, while Kelly fired a 69.

Kelly is the defending champion, winning the 2019 event after the 2020 edition was canceled during the COVID-19 pandemic.

After two birdies on the front nine Saturday, Jimenez had a bogey on the par-4 14th hole, before he responded with birdies at Nos. 15 and 16. He bumped a 79-yard chip shot to within 6 feet at the par-4 15th hole and drained his right-breaking putt.

“The thing you have to do tomorrow is keep patience, have a good swing rhythm and let everything happen,” Jimenez said. “You have to respect all the players that are behind you, they’re all great players, and tomorrow the one who plays better will win the tournament. … Don’t think about it, just do your best.”

Jimenez, 57, has won 10 times on the Champions Tour, most recently last September at the Sanford International. Twenty-one of his 38 career professional wins came on the European Tour.

In a tie for third place when the second round began, Couples made his slight move up the leaderboard by improving his opening-round score by a stroke. He had two birdies and a bogey on the front nine before he delivered birdies at Nos. 11, 13, 15 and 17 to put pressure in Jimenez.

“Tomorrow I’m going to have to play better,” Couples said. “Today was just really a good eight holes of golf and I birdied four of the holes. Tomorrow I’ve got to start out, play better and work my way into this thing and see if I can hang in there with Jimenez and Kelly and Goosen and Jim Furyk.”

Hall of Fame pitcher John Smoltz remained in last place in the 80-player field at 14-over par. He shot a 6-over 78 on Saturday after Friday’s opening-round 80.

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