Frenchman Thomas Levet ensured the Alstom Open de France remained on French soil with a one shot victory over Dane Thorbjorn Olesen and Englishman Mark Foster at Le Golf National.
Levet – who first played in the event some 25 years previously, was solid in putting together a 2-under par round of 70 to finish clear of the Dane and Foster, who had started the day as joint-leader on 9-under par.
“I’ve played this tournament, I don’t know how many times, but now I can play for another ten years or something like that. So it’s just absolutely crazy.” a delighted Levet said afterwards.
Not for the first time this season had Foster given himself a crack at winning, but as in previous occasions couldn’t see the job out. Despite a closing 74, the Englishman had begun solidly, playing the first 11 holes in level par. But a double-bogey on the 12th was followed by another shot gone at the 13th, and he arrived at the tough 18th hole needing a birdie to force a playoff.
But after finding the green, he failed to hole out his 20-footer for the birdie he needed.
Despite good conditions, the scoring was average and Levet’s 70 saw him win with a 7-under par total 277 – 2 worse than the overnight leaders had begun with.
James Morrison, who had to overcome a bout of Crohn’s Disease prior to the event starting had shared the lead with Foster, but after starting out bogey-double bogey he saw his chance gone and he signed for a 78 to finish in a share of seventh.
Several had gone into the final round with chances of winning, and Scotland’s Richie Ramsay was one. But he too faltered, failing to find a solitary birdie to card a 76. That score dropped him back to 3-under par and into a share of fifth with England’s Simon Khan.
And world number four Martin Kaymer couldn’t get his challenge going either. After getting to 6-under par on day three, many might have expected that the biggest challenge would come from the German. But the challenge never materialised and Kaymer signed for a 73 to take fourth place, 3 behind Levet.
Kaymer’s finish was good enough to see him reclaim the world number three spot from US Open champion Rory McIlroy.
Meanwhile, Olesen’s tied-second place finish means he will qualify for next week’s Open Championship at Royal St. Georges. It is the second runners-up in recent weeks for Olesen – he also finished second at the BMW Italian Open behind Robert Rock.