Thongchai Jaidee claimed his eighth European Tour title with a comfortable victory at the 100th Open de France, four shots ahead of Francesco Molinari and five clear of Rory McIlroy.
The Thai veteran was a picture of consistency over the weekend at Le Golf National in Paris, carding two consecutive rounds of 68 to get to 11-under-par thanks to a run of 39 bogey-free holes. Italy’s Molinari carded the low round of the day with a 66 to take runner-up honours by one shot over McIlroy.
Thongchai’s victory marks the first time that the European Tour has had seven Asian victories in the same season, with the 46-year-old also becoming the oldest winner in Open de France history, beating 2010 champion Miguel Angel Jiménez by 58 days.
Coming into the final day with a two-shot lead, Thongchai extended his advantage to five on three occasions as the chasing pack failed to put him under any great pressure. A closing bogey on the toughest hole on tour last year failed to take the gloss off a fine victory.
“I’m very happy to have my family here this week together and also really happy to win the tournament here,” said Thongchai. “I know the golf course is fantastic. I’ve been here many, many years and I think especially this week, it’s a special week for me to win the tournament out here.
“Sometimes you need one perfect week. You can’t do well every week. This week is my perfect week because I didn’t miss much. Anything I missed, I found I could lay up and make a good shot and make par and that’s it.”
Meanwhile, Brandon Stone, Alex Noren, Callum Shinkwin and Richard Sterne earned their places at the Open Championship by finishing in the top 12.