Kapur finishes tied 18th, McDowell wins as Stadler collapses

London: With miserable weather making things difficult for late finishers, Graeme McDowell (67) played a brilliant round to defend his title successfully at the Alstom Open de France here even as India`s Shiv Kapur finished tied 18th.

Overnight leader, Kevin Stadler collapsed to a 76 on a wet and windy final day yesterday.
Kapur rounded off a modest week with a one-under 70. Kapur, the lone Indian to make the cut this week, ended the tournament at four-over 288. Jeev Milkha Singh and Gaganjeet Bhullar had earlier missed the cut.

Kapur opened with a bogey on first but birdies on fifth, seventh, 10th and 11th saw him climb to three-under, but he once again had problems on the back nine at the Le Golf National as he dropped three bogeys between 13th and 16th. A closing birdie on 18th did give him a positive feel unlike the second and third days when he bogeyed the 18th.

McDowell produced a brilliant final round to overturn an eight-shot deficit and successfully defend a tournament for the first time in his career. McDowell shrugged off some miserable weather conditions to card a closing 67, the joint-lowest round.

But the former US Open Champion still needed Stadler to miss from two feet for par on the 18th, an effort which would have forced a sudden death play-off.

With McDowell then dropping his only shot of the day on the 18th after finding heavy rough off the tee, Stadler needed to par the 18th to force a play-off but missed from two feet just as McDowell left the recording area to prepare for extra holes.

Stadler`s closing 76 left him in a tie for second with Thailand`s Thongchai Jaidee, who dropped five shots in first four holes but played the remainder in four under for a 72.

"I`m very surprised," McDowell said after claiming his tenth European Tour title. "Midway through my second glass of red wine last night, when I was very disappointed with my back-nine performance on Saturday, I really didn`t think I`d be a) standing here with an opportunity to be in a play-off and b) with a trophy in my hands."

Stadler found himself five clear of the field when playing partner Jaidee got off to a terrible start and local favourite Victor Riu followed a birdie on the first with a double bogey on the second after hitting his tee shot in the water.

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