Jimenez, 49, had eight birdies and a pair of bogeys in Thursday's first-round play for a 6-under-par 64.
The crowd tied for second one stroke back of Jimenez includes David Howell, Pablo Larrazabal, Damien McGrane, Gary Orr and Fabrizio Zanotti. Howell and Larrazabal each had five birdies in a bogey-free round of 65, while Orr had seven birdies and a pair of bogeys and McGrane and Zanotti both had five birdies, an eagle and two bogeys Thursday.
Jimenez, in one of the final first-round groups, opened with three birdies in his first four holes. He had a bogey at No. 6 but quickly got that back with a birdie at 7. He had another bogey at the 10th hole but pulled close to the lead with back-to-back birdies at 12 and 13.
He tied the large group at 5-under by holing a pitch shot for a birdie at 16 and then saved par from 12 feet at 17. An 8-foot putt for birdie at the 18th gave Jimenez the outright lead.
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