Jimenez, Maggert among the favorites to win at Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic

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SAUCIER, Mississippi — Miguel Angel Jimenez has had quite a start to his Champions Tour career.

Since becoming eligible for the Tour last year after turning 50 years old, the Spaniard has won two out of the three events he's entered, including the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai in January. He'll try to continue his run of success at this week's Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic at Fallen Oak.

Jimenez — a 21-time European Tour winner — hopes the 7,054-yard Fallen Oak will provide a good test as he prepares to play in The Masters next month. But that doesn't mean his mind is already in Augusta, Georgia.

"I came here because I want to win this tournament," Jimenez said. "Just like any other player."

If Jimenez is able to win, he'll join some rare company.

Fred Couples was the last player to win three of his first four Champions Tour events, accomplishing the feat in 2010. Couples is in this year's field at Fallen Oak and won the tournament in 2012. Other former winners in Mississippi this week are Tom Lehman (2011) and Michael Allen (2013).

Jeff Maggert is the tournament's defending champion after winning in his Champions Tour debut last March. Maggert made a stunning 45-foot birdie putt on No. 17 during the final round, which provided the cushion he needed for a two-stroke victory.

The event, in its sixth year, has never had a two-time winner.

Notable first-year players at Fallen Oak this year include two-time U.S. Open champion Lee Janzen, former Players champion Stephen Ames and Jesper Parnevik. All three became eligible for the Champions Tour by turning 50 after last year's Gulf Resort Classic.

Bart Bryant, this year's Champions Tour money leader, is also in the field. He's placed in the top 10 in all four events this season, including a second-place finish last week at the Tucson Conquistadores Classic.

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