Alstom French Open: Graeme McDowell triumphs at Le Golf National
Graeme McDowell produced a superb final round 67 to score a four-shot victory in the Alstom Open de France.
Last Updated: 08/07/13 10:56am
The Northern Irishman was locked in a battle with fellow overnight leader Richard Sterne for most of the final day but held his nerve down the tough closing holes at Le Golf National.
His four-under 67 gave him a winning total of nine-under while Sterne (71) took solo second - a shot in front of England's Graeme Storm and Spain's Eduardo De La Riva, who claimed a share of third with closing 69s. Another Englishman, Simon Dyson (71), finished alone in fifth.
Sterne led by one at the turn after an excellent outward three-under 33 but G-Mac pulled level with a 15-foot birdie at 10 and then edged in front after the South African bogeyed the 12th.
In what was now a head-to-head battle after their rivals couldn't keep pace, McDowell showed the matchplay skills that helped him anchor Europe to victory in the 2010 Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor.
Sterne stayed level with a scrambling par at 13 after finding water but, with the pressure on, he cracked at 16 with a clumsy greenside chip leading to a bogey.
Two in front with two to play, McDowell hammered the final nail into the coffin with a super birdie at 17 after a fine approach and another Sterne bogey gave the Northern Irishman a four-shot cushion playing the last.
With water guarding the front of the green, McDowell still had to be a little wary but a fine drive and safe second to the back of the green ensured he could fully enjoy the walk up 18.
He finished the job in style, lagging a lengthy putt down the length of the green and then holing an eight footer for par.
It meant he became the first Northern Irish champion of the Open de France and also gave him a third victory in three months after wins at the RBC Heritage in America and the Volvo World Match Play Championship in Bulgaria.