Dream win for Levet on home soil

After 25 years without success, Thomas Levet finally secured his national championship in Paris on Sunday.

After 25 years without success, Thomas Levet finally secured his national championship in Paris on Sunday.

Levet edged out England’s Mark Foster and Dane Thorbjorn Olesen by one shot at Le Golf National, carding a final-round one-under-par 70 that only just proved enough on a tense and nailbiting afternoon in Paris.

The 42-year-old came from three behind with one round to go, and managed to keep his cool as others around him lost theirs to claim his fifth European Tour title, and over £442,000 in prize money.

Olesen and Foster had chances to seize victory themselves, or at least force a play-off, but couldn’t quite make it happen.

Olesen missed a four-foot par putt on the 18th, while Foster couldn’t convert a 20-foot birdie putt on the closing hole.

“It was close, really close. I thought I hit a good putt on the last, but hopefully next time I can win,” said Olesen.

Levet, who is being touted as a possible Ryder Cup captain in 2018 when the tournament will be held at Le Golf National, was ecstatic after his victory.

“It was just crazy – the way it went was just like a dream,” he said.

“The people were going ‘Allez, allez, allez’ and some of them go ‘Captain, captain’. The atmosphere was great – I felt like one of the Tour de France riders climbing a mountain.

“I had everyone behind me basically the same as a Ryder Cup and it was the same adrenaline rush.

“I was reaching distances I’ve never reached before, but with experience I knew it was going to happen.

“It’s the first time my kids have seen me win. I’m not done yet!”

Though Levet finished steadily, his front nine was a rollorcoaster ride. He birdied the first, only to bogey the second and take two penalty drops out of the hazards for a bogey six at the third, before making a monster 60-footer for birdie on the fourth.

A crucial 12-foot par putt on the 17th helped secure him the victory, as Olesen’ birdie that followed could only see him tie for the lead. When he three-putted the 18th, it was all over.

With Levet having already qualified for the Open last month, the one place up for grabs this week went to Olesen instead of Foster, because of the Dane’s higher world ranking.

It added insult to injury for Foster, who led after three rounds, but closed with a disappointing three-over-par 74 to finish in a tie for second.

The Englishman came just as close to winning last week in Munich too, but also fell short. He’ll have to wait a little longer for his first European Tour win.

Foster’s disappointment is underlined by the fact that Levet’s winning total of seven under falls two short of his nine under total at the end of the third round.

Joint overnight leader James Morrison fared even worse than Foster, finishing up with a 78 as he found water twice in his round

Richie Ramsay, alone in third at eight under after the third round, ran up a triple-bogey seven on the 15th. He eventually shot a 76.

Germany’s Martin Kaymer could only manage a 73 on Sunday, but with so many faring worse it still saw him finish alone in fourth and reclaim his world number three ranking from Rory McIlroy.

Levet joins Jean-Francois Remesy – winner in 2004 & 2005 – as the only home winners of the French Open since 1969.