sport

Jimenez in contention in Spain

A month after winning on his Champions Tour debut, Miguel Angel Jimenez was in contention for his 21st European Tour title at the Spanish Open.

Fresh from finishing fourth in the Masters at Augusta National, Jimenez completed a wire-to-wire victory in the Greater Gwinnett Championship in April, but was quick to stress he had no intentions of joining the seniors circuit full time.

The 50-year-old is determined to qualify for a fifth Ryder Cup appearance in September and was on course to give his chances a massive boost as he made a flying start to the third round at PGA Catalunya.

Jimenez, who is already the oldest winner in European Tour history, chipped in for a birdie on the second and then carded a hat-trick of birdies from the fifth to move to six under par, two shots ahead of overnight leader Thomas Pieters and England's Richard Bland.

Pieters had dropped shots on the second and fifth to lie four under par, with Ross Fisher setting the clubhouse target on three under after a 67 containing four birdies, two eagles and three bogeys.

Fisher, who won the Tshwane Open in South Africa earlier this season, told Sky Sports: "I'm very pleased. Starting the day two over par I wanted to get into red figures and I managed to do that.

"I played really well and the difference from Friday to Saturday was that I had the speed of the greens. On Friday I really struggled, I felt the greens were a lot slower than they were on Thursday morning so I'm pleased to go out there and play a solid round of golf."

A wild drive on the ninth led to Jimenez's first bogey of the day and with Pieters and Luiten both picking up shots, there was a three-way tie for the lead on five under.

However, Jimenez swiftly made amends with a brilliant approach to the par-five 12th to set up a two-putt birdie that took him back into the lead.

Jimenez moved two clear again when he birdied the 13th in extraordinary fashion, holing a 70ft putt across the green after his approach from heavy rough had only just cleared the water short of the green.

However, a three-putt bogey on the 15th soon followed and playing partner Richie Ramsay was quick to take advantage, the Scot carding a hat-trick of birdies from the 14th - the last of which was from a similar distance to that of Jimenez on the 13th.

That took Ramsay to five under par into a share of second place with Luiten and Pieters, just one shot behind Jimenez.