Champagne moment as Alexander Levy romps to maiden victory
Frenchman produces a brilliant birdie-birdie finish to win by four shots from England's Tommy Fleetwood
Happy-go-lucky Frenchman Alexander Levy won his first professional tournament with a four-shot victory at the 20 million yuan Volvo China Open today.
The 23-year-old, who blew the field apart with a 10-under 62 in Friday’s second round, birdied the last two holes in spectacular style to beat England's Tommy Fleetwood at the Genzon Golf Club.
Levy (68-62-70-69) finished at 19 under, clear of Fleetwood (15 under), Spain's Alvaro Quiros (13 under) and Italy's Francesco Molinari (12 under).
"I am very happy. I didn't feel a lot of pressure as I was very confident," Levy said. "I just focused on the game and on the target.
"I woke up early this morning thinking about too many things but that's the life. But on the course I was thinking only about my job and that's why I have this trophy in my hands."
Patience was his strategy and it paid huge dividends when he dropped two shots at the 15th after ending up in a divot.
“Then on 16 I stayed patient and hit a great shot and made par. I hit a good drive on 17 and saw Tommy making his birdie so I knew I only had a one-shot lead. I just closed my eyes and hit one of the best shots of the week and I was then two ahead again.
“Then I saw Tommy make bogey on 18 and that helped me make a champagne finish on 18 with an eight iron to three feet.
“The key for me to be successful is to be patient and to believe that I can win. And to keep the smile on my face and try to be happy. That is when I play my best golf.
“If I get upset about bad shots then it leads to bad feelings. I need to enjoy and keep smiling so I tried to do that this week and it worked out well.”
Levy adds his name to a list of French winners in the past year or more, including Victor Dubuisson, Julien Quesne, Gregory Bourdy and Raphael Jacqueline.
“It is great for French golf and great with the Ryder Cup coming to France in 2018,” Levy said.
China’s hopes were dashed at the fourth hole when 18-year-old Li Haotong, who started the final round in a tie for eighth and with great expectations, took a quadruple eight and sank from the leaderboard.
Ouyang Zheng leapfrogged Li as the leading Chinese player (72-72-73-67) after finishing at four under par.
England’s Danny Willett had plenty to celebrate after a hole-in-one at the 12th, which won him a 330,000-yuan Volvo V40 Cross Country. Willett finished at six under.
“I hit five iron from 209 yards and it landed just short and rolled in,” Willett said. “We couldn’t actually see it, but I knew it was in from the reaction of the people behind the green.
“It’s pretty cool to win such a great car – I’m looking forward to taking it for a spin.”
Marcel Siem also had an ace, but there was no prize on offer at the eighth hole. The German finished at two under.
US PGA champion Jason Dufner, one of three high-profile players brought to Genzon to help celebrate the 20th anniversary of the open, will quickly want to forget his trip after a final-round three-over 75 left him in a tie for 54th.
World number three Henrik Stenson, who battled a stomach bug for most of the week, shot a final-round 65 to finish at 11 under and in a tie for sixth.
Englishman Ian Poulter also finished at 11 under after a 67, with the damage done in a second-round 74 when he took an incorrect drop and incurred a two-shot penalty.
The China Open is co-sanctioned by the European Tour and OneAsia Tour.