|France's Thomas Levet reacts after his putt from the eighteenth hole during the French Open golf tournament at the Golf National course in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, near Paris July 2, 2011. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau
Thomas Levet won his home tournament by the slimmest of margins.
With so many leaders falling off the pace Sunday, Levet and playing partner Thorbjorn Olesen found themselves tied for first at seven-under heading into the 72nd hole. After Levet posted a two-putt par, Olesen had a two-footer to push the tournament into a playoff.
Olesen, however, lipped the putt, leaving Levet in the lead.
Levet headed to the clubhouse to wait out third-round co-leader Mark Foster, who was two groups and one shot behind with two holes left. His final two approaches, though, left him tough birdie putts, and he made neither of them to cancel plans for hole No. 73 at Le Golf National.
"Just crazy, the way it went today," Levet said. "Like in a dream. I knew I was three behind (to start the day), but on this course that's nothing."
So on a day where there was only one sub-70 round and five rounds of 80 or worse, it was the Frenchman Levet who emerged from the mess for his sixth European Tour win and first since 2009.
Levet mixed four birdies and three bogeys for a one-under 70 as one of only five sub-par rounds in the field on Sunday. His score of seven-under 277 was one better than Olesen and Foster.
While Olesen matched Levet's 70 on Sunday, Foster posted a round of three-over 74 that included zero birdies. He still fared better than James Morrison, who shared the lead with Foster entering the day, but carded a seven-over 78 on Sunday to fall into a share of seventh.
Martin Kaymer shot a two-over 73 and finished in fourth at four-under 280, while Simon Khan (71) and Richie Ramsay (76) shared fifth at minus-three.
Levet is now the second French winner of this tournament after Jean-Francois Remesy, who won in 2004 and 2005.
"Just a lot of emotions," Levet said. "Very, very tiring, but great. From yesterday's first hole to today's last hole, it was just a great atmosphere."
Early on, it looked as if Foster would win the tournament. Morrison fell off with three lost shots in the first two holes, and Foster remained steady with 11 pars to open the round.
On the 12th, however, Foster's round began to unravel.
His approach at the par-four missed the green, and his subsequent chip also missed. Foster finally got on the green in four, but needed to two-putt for double-bogey.
The misstep dropped Foster into a tie at seven-under with Levet, who immediately went ahead for the first time with a birdie at the par-five 14th.
Foster dropped another stroke with a bogey at 13th, and Levet and Olesen both bogeyed the 16th to keep the tournament close.
Olesen made a move with a crucial five-foot birdie putt at the 17th to share the lead with Levet at minus-seven, while Foster resumed his string of pars, which wasn't good enough to regain the lead, keeping him one back.
Levet and Olesen headed to the 18th tied, but it was Olesen's final mistake that allowed the Frenchman to take home the title.
"I just played my game. I got lucky on some putts," Levet said.
Michael Jonzon had the lone sub-70 round of the day, carding a three-under 68 to finish in a share of 15th at one-over 285.
NOTES: Only 10 players finished the tournament under par...Michael Hoey, Thomas Bjorn, Florian Fritsch, Julien Guerrier and Kenneth Ferrie all shot 80 or worse on Sunday...Matthew Zions and Peter Lawrie joined Jonzon, Levet and Olesen with sub-par rounds...The tour heads to Scotland next week for the Barclays Scottish Open, where Edoardo Molinari earned his first European Tour title last year.