Strong return for Jimenez after broken leg

14:02, Jul 18 2013
Zach Johnson
Early first round leader Zach Johnson went five-under on the front nine.
Ian Poulter
Ian Poulter tries to use body English to move a putt during his first round.
Ian Poulter and Billy Horschel
Making a loud statement with their pants, Ian Poulter (left) and Billy Horschel.
Miguel Angel Jimenez
Miguel Angel Jimenez plays out of the bunker on the 18th hole.
David Lynn
English man David Lynn plays his second shot on the 11th hole.
Rafael Cabrera-Bello
Spaniard Rafael Cabrera-Bello was the early clubhouse leader at four-under.
Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy
Jason Day
Jason Day ponders a putting line on the second hole.
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods lines up a putt early in his first round at Muirfield.
Shiv Kapur
India's Shiv Kapur rose briefly to the lead during the first round.
Louis Oosthuizen
Louis Oosthuizen is taken from the course on a golf cart after withdrawing.
British Open at Muirfield
A view of the 13th hole at the Muirfield course.
Lee Westwood
Lee Westwood shakes hands with Charl Schwartzel after the completion of their second round.
Charl Schwartzel
Charl Schwartzel plays from the bunker near the 16th green.
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods reacts after missing a birdie putt on the ninth hole in the second round.
Ryan Moore
Ryan Moore tees off on the par-three 16th hole.
DA Points
DA Points hacks out of the long grass as a freighter sails by behind him.
Sergio Garcia
Sergio Garcia adjusts his cap after finishing his second round.
Nick Faldo
Nick Faldo hugs his caddie and son Matthew in what could be his last British Open round.
Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy waves at the crowd after rolling in a putt in his second round.
Miguel Angel Jimenez
Miguel Angel Jimenez lines up a putt during his second round.
Rafael Cabrera-Bello
Rafael Cabrera-Bello plays from off the fairway in front of a sombrero-wearing spectator.
British Open Golf
Lee Westwood reacts after making a birdie putt on the 17th hole.
British Open Golf
Tiger Woods reacts after a wayward shot on the 15th during his third round.
British Open Golf
Angel Cabrera reacts after missing his par putt on the 18th.
British Open Golf
Adam Scott enjoys the fine weather as he walks along the 18th fairway.
2013 British Open
Phil Mickelson celebrates a birdie putt on the 18th hole.
2013 British Open
Lee Westwood was unable to build on his early form and claim his first Major win.
2013 British Open
Tiger Woods shakes hands with his former caddie Steve Williams, who now works with Adam Scott.
2013 British Open
Adam Scott was unable to build on early promise and win his second Major.

Leaning on his putter and gazing out toward the Firth of Forth, Miguel Angel Jimenez had the look of a contented man as he waited his turn for a birdie attempt under sunny skies on the 11th green.

The pony-tailed, pot-bellied, cigar-smoking Spaniard had birdied five of his first nine holes - including the first three - and was leading the British Open by three strokes early in the first round.

Not bad for a 49-year-old man who recently returned to action after breaking his right leg in a skiing accident.

He couldn't quite keep it up, though, missing that putt and making two bogeys on his back nine to shoot a 3-under 68. But the charismatic Jimenez is still on the leaderboard.

"I would love to have a major in my career," Jimenez said. "I would love to have one of these. I don't know how much longer for me on the tour. I'm 49, you know."

Unless a Scot goes on to lift the claret jug, there would likely be no more popular winner than Jimenez, a Ryder Cup stalwart and the owner of a frame that could generously be described as portly.

He would become the oldest winner of the oldest major - Old Tom Morris holds the record at 46 from back in 1867 - as well as the first Spanish champion at the Open since Seve Ballesteros in 1988.

But Jimenez won't be getting ahead of himself. He has been here before at Opens, where his fast starts are now commonplace.

At Turnberry in 2009, he was the first-round leader but came home tied for 13th, and he was one off the first-round lead at Sandwich in 2011 after a 66.

This year's showing is even more impressive since he missed the first three months of the season after his skiing fall while on vacation in the Sierra Nevada mountain range in Andalucia, southern Spain.

"If you break your leg at 30 years old, you can say, 'OK, I'm going to have a sabbatical year,' but at 49 you don't want to spend any sabbatical day," Jimenez said, laughing. "It's tough so many months without hitting. Just knowing the competition that is around."

Jimenez, who is playing with padding under his left elbow because of tendonitis, became the oldest winner in European Tour history when he won the Hong Kong Open last year at 48 years, 318 days.

He's looking to make more history at Muirfield.

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Miguel Angel Jimenez
SAND STORM: Miguel Angel Jimenez plays out of a bunker on the 18th hole during his first round, where he birdied five of his first nine holes.

AP