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Levet the hometown hero at French Open

Parisian wins by one stroke on the final day at Le Golf National.

Image: Bob Edme/AP/Press Association Images

WITH A BOISTEROUS French gallery cheering him on to glory, Parisian Thomas Levet claimed a one-shot victory in the Alstom French Open, a mere 25 years after he made his first appearance at the tournament.

The 42-year-old – best remembered for his performance at the 2002 British Open when he lost out to Ernie Els in a playoff – finished the day with one-under round of 70, pipping Denmark’s Thorbjorn Olesen and overnight leader Mark Foster to the €500,000 first prize.

Celebrating only the sixth tour win of his professional career, Levet beamed: “All of my friends were here in the crowd. It’s always nice to win in front of your home crowd. The way it went today was just like in a dream.”

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.

As first Olesen (70) and then Foster (74) missed opportunities at the eighteenth to take the tournament to a playoff, Levet showed his delight by taking a celebratory dive into one of Le Golf National’s water features.

With course set to host the 2018 Ryder Cup, the Frenchman – tipped by some to captain the European team on home soil – explained that the energy emanating from today’s gallery was merely a taste of what is to come.

“Imagine what it is going to be like when we have six times more people on the course. I felt like the Tour de France has started, I felt like one of the riders climbing some of the mountains in France with the public all around me shouting my name.”

It was quite crazy from yesterday’s first hole to today’s last hole, great atmosphere. You can tell your friends, 2018, France is ready.

Gavin Cooney
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World number four Martin Kaymer rallied to finish in fourth place, three shots behind Levet, while Peter Lawrie was the best of the Irish in a tie for 21st on two-over par, pocketing €33,000 for his efforts.

Gareth Maybin, Paul McGinley and Michael Hoey had disastrous closing rounds. A 77 for Maybin saw him drop way down the leaderboard to finish on +7, while McGinley and Hoey ended their tournaments with a 79 and 80 to finish on +14 and +18 respectively.

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Niall Kelly

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