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Miguel Angel Jimenez shoots 64 while breaking European Tour starts record

Miguel Angel Jimenez walked off the 18th green Thursday at the Hero Open and sipped a glass of rioja.

How else to celebrate a new European Tour record?

The 56-year-old Spaniard passed Sam Torrance’s longstanding mark by making his 707th career start on the European Tour. Jimenez did so in style, firing a bogey-free 8-under 64 to sit just two shots off the lead.

Jimenez had made Torrance’s record a goal and succeeded despite the coronavirus pandemic upending the European Tour’s schedule this summer. As he gears up for a return to the PGA Tour Champions, Jimenez has remained highly competitive. Earlier this month he held the 36-hole lead at the Austrian Open before finishing in eighth place, and last week, during the first stop on the European Tour’s U.K. Swing, he tied for 38th.

Full-field scores from the Hero Open

In the opening round at Forest of Arden Marriott Hotel & Country Club, Jimenez carded eight birdies as he looks to capture his 22nd career European Tour title. Sebastian Garcia Rodriguez leads the way after a 10-under 62.

When he finished his round, Jimenez spoke via video conference with Torrance and raised a glass of red wine.

“I’m very proud of the record,” Torrance told him, “but I can’t give it to someone better. Muy bien (very good).”