Thongchai Jaidee claimed his eighth European Tour title as he cruised to a comfortable victory at the 100th Open de France.
The Thai was a picture of consistency over the weekend at Le Golf National, carding two consecutive rounds of 68 to get to 11 under thanks to a run of 39 bogey-free holes, and claiming a four-shot triumph over Italy's Francesco Molinari, who carded the low round of the day with a 66.
World Number Four Rory McIlroy finished third on six under with a closing 71 and Brandon Stone, Alex Noren, Callum Shinkwin and Richard Sterne earned their places at the Open Championship by finishing in the top 12.
Jaidee'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.
Thongchai Jaidee: “I am very happy this is the biggest win of my career, and my family here this week together just makes it even more special. I've been coming here many, many years, and I think especially this week with the centenary edition of the tournament, it's a special week for me to win on one of the toughest courses we play. Everything is absolutely perfect.
“I've been coming here about ten years, and I think this week the course is set up quite tough. The fairways are quite narrow and the rough is very thick. You have to hit the ball in play all the time, otherwise, if you keep it in play and you hit on the green and you hit a good one putt, you're going to have a good chance to win the tournament. This week, for me, I had no problems at all. I hit the ball perfect, and kept it in play all the time. That's why I'm confident to play the golf course.”
Francesco Molinari: “It’s a great result and a big week obviously for Ryder Cup points which makes the result even better. I came here after a really good Sunday at Congressional where I finished in the top ten and then I got in The Open just a couple of days later, which is obviously great news.
“So it's been a good couple of weeks. The game is moving in the right direction. I think I've done a lot of work on the short game and on the putting, and I think it showed today. I holed so many putts, so I'm proud of that.”
Rory McIlroy: “It's been a good week, just to see where I'm at with my game. There were signs that it was really good and heading in the right direction, and then today, again, there was sometimes that it was good. But there was a few swings I made on the back nine that just I need to sort of work on. I was getting quite steep with my irons, which has been a problem anyway. It's been a good week. The way I've felt out there and to finish third on my own, it's been a decent week in that regard.
“I've got ten days until The Open starts. I'm going to be working every day to try to get better and play a bit of links golf and work on the shots that I'll need for Troon, as well. I'm confident where I'm at, and even though this week it didn't feel that good, I'm obviously doing some things right. So go forward and keep working hard and hopefully I'll be ready for Troon.
“I haven't played Troon. I'm actually going to go over this week for a couple of days and sort of figure it out and see what I need to do there. It was really disappointing, especially at St. Andrews last year, not to be able to defend. The last time I played The Open I won it, so good memories, and hopefully I can play similar to the way I did in Liverpool and give myself a chance.”