CALGARY, Alta. – Miguel Angel Jimenez eagled the par-5 18th hole Saturday to match the course record of 9-under 61 and tie Colin Montgomerie for the second-round lead in the Shaw Charity Classic.
With wife Susanne working her first tournament at his caddie, Jimenez matched Fred Couples’ course record set last year.
“My caddie needed 19 working days to get a visa to come here and that’s the reason he’s not here,” Jimenez said. “My wife is a good player, a single handicap, too, and she knows about golf. She said from the beginning, `If he’s not coming, I would love to caddie for you.’ `OK, fine. No problem.'”
The 51-year-old Spanish player made seven birdies in a nine-hole stretch in the middle of the round. He set up his closing eagle with a 7-wood to 9 feet.
“I played very well,” Jimenez said. “I hit very solid from green to tee and, in the beginning, the ball not like to drop in the hole. But then I start to make birdies. … It’s going to be a very tight finish tomorrow, that’s for sure.”
Montgomerie, the first-round leader after a 62, birdied the 18th for a 66 to join Jimenez at 12-under 128 at Canyon Meadows. The Scot had an eagle, five birdies and three bogeys.
“Disappointing the way I finished,” Montgomerie said. “I missed three putts in a row there at 16, 17 and 18. I three-putted the 16th for a bogey and I missed a very makeable putt at 17 for a birdie and I missed a very makeable eagle putt at the last. So, very disappointing finish, to be honest.”
Jimenez won the season-opening Mitsubishi Electric Championship in Hawaii in January. He also won the Greater Gwinnett Championship last year in his first start on the Champions Tour.
“Obviously, Miguel had a great day as I did yesterday,” Montgomerie said. “It’s set up for a very exciting finish.”
Jimenez and Montgomerie are travelling together to the PGA Championship after the tour tournament.
“Yeah, we’re sharing a plane tomorrow as well to Milwaukee to get there in time,” Montgomerie said. “I know him very well. Obviously, played on many Ryder Cup teams with him and he’s a great competitor.”
Montgomerie successfully defended his title in the Senior PGA Championship in May for his third major victory on the 50-and-over tour.
Jeff Maggert, the Regions Tradition and U.S. Senior Open winner, was 10 under after a 63. He played alongside Jimenez and Couples.
“Sometimes when the guys in your group are making a lot of birdies, we all kind of feed off each other,” Maggert said. “I made birdies early. Then Miguel made three or four birdies out of five holes, so we just kind of kept each other going.”
Defending champion Couples was tied for fourth at 8 under after a 65. Last year, Couples chipped in for eagle for a 61 in the final round, then beat Billy Andrade with a tap-in birdie on the first playoff hole.
“I’m in the same spot I was last year,” Couples said. “I’ve just got to go out and freewheel it and try and shoot a good score. Last year was a crazy score like Miguel’s today. Am I out of it? No, but I don’t think Miguel’s going to struggle at all.”
Woody Austin also was 8 under after a 64.
Mark O’Meara, Tom Byrum, Michael Allen and Canadian Stephen Ames were 7 under. Byrum had a 66, and O’Meara shot 67, and Allen and Ames 68.