Sport Golf

Tuesday 30 September 2014

Stunning final round helps Graeme McDowell retain French crown

Published 06/07/2014 | 16:31

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Graeme McDowell kisses the trophy after winning the French Open Golf tournament at Paris National course in Guyancourt
Graeme McDowell kisses the trophy after winning the French Open Golf tournament at Paris National course in Guyancourt
Graeme McDowell in action during the Alstom Open de France
Graeme McDowell in action during the Alstom Open de France

Graeme McDowell came from eight shots back to retain his French Open title by one shot from Kevin Stadler on Sunday after the American missed a two-foot putt on the final hole.

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Northern Ireland's McDowell fired a final-round 67 to finish on five under par and overnight leader Stadler needed a par at the last to force a playoff in wet and windy conditions at Le Golf National.

He narrowly failed with a birdie putt from 25 feet which would have sealed victory and inexplicably missed his next effort to card a final-round 76 and hand McDowell his 10th European Tour victory.

"I'm very surprised," McDowell told the European Tour website.

"Midway through my second glass of red wine last night, when I was very disappointed with my back-nine performance on Saturday, I really didn't think I'd be a) standing here with an opportunity to be in a playoff and b) with a trophy in my hands.

"I feel very fortunate. Kevin Stadler is a great, great player. I literally gave him that putt on the last green. I didn't expect him to miss that.

"It's not really the way you like to win. I was ready to go for the playoff, but I'll take it and run. I really needed this victory. It's a special one for me. It's pretty timely. There's a busy summer ahead,"

Former U.S. Open champion McDowell, who made five birdies and a solitary bogey on the last hole, trailed Stadler by eight shots after the third round and his win should guarantee him a place in this year's European Ryder Cup team.

It was the biggest comeback victory on the European Tour since Rafael Cabrera-Bello's win in the 2009 Austrian Open.

Thailand's Thongchai Jaidee finished tied with Stadler for second place and Sweden's Robert Karlsson was a shot further back in fourth

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