Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
In this photo released by OneAsia, Alexander Levy of France watches his shot during the final round of the Volvo China Open at Genzon Golf Club in Shenzhen, southern China, Sunday, April 27, 2014. Levy held on to win his maiden European Tour title at the China Open on Sunday, recovering from a late double bogey to shoot a 69 and beat Tommy Fleetwood by four strokes. (AP Photo/OneAsia, Paul Lakatos) NO LICENSING
Golf: Levy wins first European Tour title at China Open
First Published Apr 27 2014 10:45 am • Last Updated Apr 27 2014 11:30 pm

Shenzhen, China • Alexander Levy was so relaxed on the course at the China Open on Sunday, not even a double bogey that erased his comfortable lead could wipe the grin from his face.

Rather than get down over what could have been a costly mistake, the 23-year-old Frenchman recovered with back-to-back birdies on his final two holes to capture his maiden European Tour title by four strokes over Tommy Fleetwood.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

The smile, he said, was the key to victory.

"You need to take the pleasure on the golf course and keep the smile because if you are upset about a missed shot or not lucky because you make a lip out or something like that, it’s not good to have this feeling on the golf course," he said. "You need to enjoy and have the smile."

Levy, playing in just his second year on the tour, vaulted into the lead with a career-best 10-under 62 in the second round and looked to be headed for a runaway victory after making a birdie on the 13th Sunday to extend his lead to five shots.

But then he ran into trouble on the par-4 15th. After hitting his approach shot well past the green, he putted from the fringe and sent the ball off the other side of the green. He chipped back to the green and two-putted for a double bogey, allowing Fleetwood back within two strokes.

Fleetwood, playing in the group ahead of Levy, then tightened the pressure further with a birdie on the par-5 17th to pull another shot back.

Levy responded, however, with a flawless 3-iron approach shot over a lake on the same hole to set up a three-foot birdie putt.

"I just closed my eyes and got one of the best shots of the week to the green," he said.

After Fleetwood bogeyed the 18th, Levy sealed the win by dropping another perfectly placed approach shot three feet from the pin for another birdie. He shot a final-round 69 for a 19-under 269 overall.


story continues below
story continues below

"We aim for wins, but today I didn’t really have a chance. I had to play outstanding golf, but Alex has led from Friday, and that’s one of the hardest things you can do," Fleetwood said. "What a performance from him."

Levy has faltered under pressure before. Last year, he was tied with Ernie Els entering the final round of the BMW International Open in Munich but let the title slip away with four bogeys on the back nine. He ended up in third, his previous best result on the tour.

Since then, however, he said he’s been inspired by the success of his good friend and compatriot, Victor Dubuisson, who beat Tiger Woods to win his first European Tour title at the Turkish Airlines Open in November and then was runner-up to Jason Day at the Match Play Championship in February.

The other French players have given him plenty of encouragement as he chased his first tour victory this week, too.

Dubuisson has sent him text messages throughout the week, and the French contingent in Shenzhen doused him with celebratory champagne after he sank his final putt on the 18th.

"We have some great players in France, both young and old, and we all have a great relationship," Levy said. "There are some very good players and have been some great wins for Victor, Julien Quesne, Greg Bourdy, Raphael Jacquelin over the past couple of years which is great for French golf and great with the Ryder Cup coming to France in 2018."

Fleetwood was second at 15 under and Alvaro Quiros of Spain was third, another two strokes back.

No. 3-ranked Henrik Stenson, who was bedridden with the flu earlier this week, finally put together his first solid round of the tournament, with seven birdies and no bogeys for a 65. The Swede improved to joint fifth place but still fell short of the win he needed to overtake Tiger Woods at the top of the world rankings.

"It’s really tight and I just need to play better if I want to get to that spot. And I should have to play better than I have done earlier on this year if I want to get to world No. 1, that’s for sure," he said.

PGA champion Jason Dufner opened with a birdie-eagle on his first two holes before slipping back to joint 54th with two double bogeys and a triple bogey on the 17th.



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.