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Jimenez heralds new age of Euro golf

Miguel Angel Jimenez heralded the dawning of a new age for European golf after his second successive victory in the Turespana Masters.

The Spaniard retained his title with a closing round of 67 to hold off a brave challenge from England's Steve Webster in front of his home crowd in Malaga.

At 35 and with a decade on the European tour behind him, Jimenez is closer to being classed a veteran than one of the new breed of fresh, young emerging talents.

But he believes it is down to the likes of himself and players such as Lee Westwood, Darren Clarke and Dane Thomas Bjorn to take the place of the older generation of players who have flown the flag for Europe over the last 20 years.

There would be no better place to do that than at the US Masters in Georgia next month, especially because Jimenez received an invitation only on Friday after double green jacket winner Seve Ballesteros and European Tour chief Ken Schofield pleaded with Augusta National officials.

"I am little tired of listening to the same names year after year in the majors - Faldo, Langer, Ballesteros, Woosnam and Olazabal," said Jimenez.

"On the European tour we are seeing new names, new faces and new winners every week.

"There have been four first- time winners already this season.

"It's about time someone new won a major. I hope I do well and it's my turn in Augusta.

"Always when you play in a major you have extra motivation to do well.

"I have won tournaments when all the big names have been playing. I can win any tournament in the world."

Jimenez's victory lifted him to second in the Ryder Cup table, and he looks almost certain to qualify to make his debut in the event in Boston in September.

But he insists he is not taking anything for granted, although he admits making the 12-man team would be a special moment in his career.

"It's very important to think about things in the short term," said Jimenez, who was Ballesteros' vice-captain in the 1997 victory at Valderrama.

"I'm not thinking about the Ryder Cup. I have many chances, but it's a long time to go.

"You can't think about things that may happen in seven or eight months' time - but you can't help thinking about it.

"Obviously it was very special to be vice-captain in 1997 in your home country, and for Europe to win you live every moment. But it would mean even more to actually play.

"You always play under pressure, and it brings out something extra in you."