McDowell Rallies to Win French Open

Graeme McDowell overcame an eight-shot deficit to overtake 54-hole leader Kevin Stadler and successfully defend his title in the French Open. The European Tour event took place at Le Golf National in Paris.

The 34-year-old Northern Irishman closed with a 4-under 67 to finish at 5-under 279, a shot ahead of Stadler - who was looking for a wire-to-wire victory in his first visit to France - and Thailand's Thongchai Jaidee.

The 34-year-old Stadler entered the final round with a three-stroke lead over Frenchman Victor Riu, but the Californian closed with a 76 on a rainy Sunday in Paris. The tournament could have been extended to a playoff, but Stadler three-putted the final hole for a bogey.

Stadler had three birdies but also six bogeys and a double on Sunday. The win was the 13th for McDowell on the European Tour.

Stadler was disappointed how the final round turned out. "It was tough and I drove it terrible today. If you miss the fairway, you're going to get punished out here," he said. "That's just the way it is. Played great for a couple of days and had tons of chances and spent all day in the knee‑deep stuff today and the score showed it.

"It was so miserable on the front nine today, I was practically expecting to bogey every hole. It was virtually impossible. Just hung in there and obviously made a couple of birdies late to have a chance. It was unfortunate on the last, played a little safe second shot and I felt good over the putt, and just whiffed it unfortunately."

McDowell thought he was out of the tournament before the start of the final round and certainly didn't believe Stadler would three-putt the final hole. "Last night I didn't think I had a shot and I certainly was accepting of the playoff," said the 2010 U.S. Open champion at Pebble Beach. "I thought it would have been a great playoff and I'd have been very happy to be in the playoff.

"I certainly didn't expect Kevin to miss that putt. It wasn't really the way I like to win. Did I want to go back to the 18th tee? No. One of the hardest tee shots in European golf. But you certainly don't wish a guy to miss a putt like that, and I was ready for the playoff."

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