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06:56

DAY FOUR AT THE ALSTOM OPEN DE FRANCE FROM LE GOLF NATIONAL

  • Graeme McDowell wins 2013 Alstom Open de France by four shots on -9
  • Five birdies and one bogey in closing 67 for McDowell
  • Win McDowell's second ET victory of season after Volvo World Match Play
  • Richard Sterne's level par 71 good enough for second on -5
  • Get involved on twitter with #ETLiveBlog
17:25

Graeme McDowell

The Northern Irishman poses with the trophy after victory in the final round of the Alstom Open de France 

17:23

Thanks for joining us this week and we'll see you for the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open in just a few days time. Au revoir, tout le monde, it's been a blast.

17:23

And that will just about do it at the end of what has been a superb week at the Alstom Open de France. Graeme McDowell wins in fine fashion to probably move to World Number Six. A worthy champion, an old school golfer with every shot in his locker triumphing on a course so good and so challenging as Le Golf National. Moreover a top man. Nine times now a European Tour champion - five of which have now been national Opens. Well played that man, well played the French Federation on an incredible tournament.

17:14

Richard Sterne (-5) - Day 4 Alstom Open De France

Video
17:14

Let's not forget Richard Sterne, a gallant runner-up. Battled hard today, interview coming up now...

16:52

Graeme McDowell (-9) - Alstom Open De France - Champion

Video
16:48

And now let's hear from the 2013 Open de France champion...

16:43

Alstom Open De France Day 4 Highlights

Video
16:43

Wow. Well how about that? Marvellous performance from McDowell today. Watch highlights of how it happened on the full live blog now...

16:32
16:32
A cool beer for champion Graeme McDowell during his presser - well-deserved it is too. CHEERS!
16:10
The 2013 Open de France champ addresses the crowd and volunteers.
15:48

Both men on the 18th in two, Sterne in the heart and McDowell with a really professional shot to the back of the green. What a great performance from the Northern Irishman, a shot-making winner for a shot-maker's course. Just putts to come...

15:38

But it’s not over until it’s over, not at Le Golf National. The 17th is a 484-yard par four monster and it’s McDowell who manages to take advantage in very impressive fashion. A slightly fortunate bounce off the right bank leaves the Northern Irishman six feet for birdie which he duly takes, while it could be curtains for Sterne, as he fails to get up and down from the right rough. That’s a four shot lead, perhaps out of sight even with one of the most difficult closing holes in golf to come.

15:27

Wayward tee shots from at the short 16th leave both men with slippery chips across the green. Sterne pulled his left and slightly thinned the chip 15 feet past the hole. Needing to make that for par he came up short to make bogey, while McDowell’s hole was nothing short of extraordinary. Having flown the green with his tee shot, McDowell somehow came up six feet short with one of the fastest downhill chips you are likely to see. But the putt, oh wow. The Northern Irishman clearly pulled it and looked certain to have missed it on the left but somehow it crept in the doggy door at the last for par. Two shot lead now with two to play!

15:15

Two very good par fours from McDowell and Sterne at the 15th and this is still wide open with three holes to play. Simon Dyson has had all sorts of trouble on the 17th, chopping from left rough to right and he makes a bogey to slip back into a tie for third at four under par – three behind the South African. I think we can say the Open de France champion will now be on of Graeme McDowell or Richard Sterne. Or can we?

14:59

The Players Perspectives on the Last Four Holes - Day 4 Alstom Open De France

Video
14:56

So. What will these famous final four holes hold in store? Check out this video of the players' perspectives on the Golf National climax...

14:56

Props to Victor Dubuisson. The Frenchman equals the low round of the week with a five under 66 today, good enough for a tie for 19th place currently. Well played that man.

14:43

He’s made of Stern(e) stuff this South African (I’m so sorry). Richard is refusing to go away despite facing some pretty testing scrambles. Having sliced his drive into the drink at 13, Sterne gets up and down from 100 plus yards thanks to a 25-footer for par. Remains just one back from McDowell.

14:27

McDowell alone in the lead! A couple of regulation pars for the 2010 US Open chap are enough to go clear at the top as Richard Sterne makes a bit of a mess of the 12th. The South African found thick stuff on the right from the tee and more with his approach before failing to get up and down. Back at seven under and one back one. How important will that prove to be?

14:11

Here is What The Challengers Will Face Over One Of The Toughest Back Nines on The European Tour

Video
14:05

Don't count on it, as coming up is one of the hardest back nines in European Tour golf. On the full live blog now, check out a video with flyovers of the L'Albatros closing stretch - complete with stats from this week.

14:05

Back in the golf, meanwhile, both McDowell and Sterne birdied the par five ninth before the Northern Irishman made it two on the bounce at the tenth to pull back alongside the South African at eight under par. Can we count this as a two horse race yet? The pair are three clear of Simon Dyson.

13:59

And that’s not it, of course, after Marion Bartoli ended her long wait for a major crown by defeating German opponent Sabine Lisicki in the women’s final at Wimbledon, becoming the first French winner since 2006. The biggest name in men’s athletics was in Paris last night, too, at the IAAF Diamond League meeting, where Usain Bolt (above) set the fastest 200m of the year by winning in 19.73 seconds. Tres rapide! Top quality sport wherever you look in France at the moment.

13:54

What a week this is for French sport, by the way. Alstom Open de France promoters ASO also run the pinnacle of competitive cycling in the Tour de France, currently led by Team Sky’s Chris Froome (above). The Kenya-born Brit dominated stage eight in Ax-3-Domaines to win in the French Pyrenees and put himself in poll position to capture the 100th edition of the ‘Le Tour’. ASO are a major force in sport in general, as on top of the Open de France and cycling’s Tour de France, they also stage sailing’s Tour de France à la voile, which is also taking place right now. Busy busy!

13:40

Simon Dyson also closing the gap on Sterne, getting to within two as well thanks to three birdies in a row from the eighth. Pleasing to see the Englishman getting some form back after a difficult time of late.

13:27

Richard Green the latest man to get within two of the lead with a birdie at the ninth, but Soren Kjeldsen has really got his eye in right now, making it three birdies on the spin from the eighth to get alongside McDowell at six under - one off the lead. A few people were tipping the Dane earlier...

13:21

Søren Kjeldsen Long Range Birdie Putt - Day 4 Alstom Open De France

Video
13:21

Soren Kjeldsen going nicely too, two under par today and he sunk a monster a few moments ago to move two behind. Watch the video on the full live blog...

13:13

Richard Sterne Putting his way up the Leaderboard Day 4 - Alstom Open De France

Video
13:11

So as Sterne leads, look back at this very important birdie from off the green at the fifth, video now up on the full version of the live blog...

13:10

McDowell makes just his fourth bogey of the week at the seventh and a par for Sterne is enough to hand the South African a one shot lead. First blood to the six-time European Tour champ.

13:06

Scotland’s Marc Warren closing in on the leading pair, however, having reached the turn in an unblemished 34 blows he moved to five under par – two back – with a nice 15-footer at the tenth.

12:47

You have to laugh! Stunning golf from the final group to remain all square at the top – albeit three clear of the field now. This could turn into a bit of a match play scenario between McDowell and Sterne. Having both parred the fourth, Sterne gets himself in a bit of trouble off the green in two but proceeds to chip in magnificently for birdie to move to seven under. McDowell responds in kind, though, to keep honours even by holing his ten-footer for birdie. High quality fair on an equally impressive golf course. What a tournament this is!

12:29
Could be a real ding-dong battle this and we are going to love seeing it unfold on what is a truly stunning afternoon in Versailles. Sterne very nearly eagles the long third but as it slips by his tap-in birdie is enough to regain a share of the lead at six under as McDowell's birdie putt just stays out. The final group are two clear now but plenty still going well in the wind.
12:14

Day 4 Preview Alstom Open De France

Video
12:11

Two good pars followed by McDowell and Sterne at the short second as the Northern Irishman found the front right edge of the green and two putted, while the South African did very well to get up and down from the back right bunker, holing a sizeable par putt in the process.

11:50
What a start from favourite McDowell. Great fairway wood, pitch to 12 feet and in she rolls, smooth as anything. Ominous from the 2010 US Open champ, who moves one clear on six under.
11:45
11:44
Graeme McDowell hits a beauty down the middle in front of packed banks. Imagine The Ryder Cup here in 2018. Wow.
11:22

Two birdies in the opening three holes for group 27, also known as Eduardo de la Riva and Graeme Storm put that Spanish and English pair within one of the lead. Things hotting up as the wind picks up too, what a finish we have in store.

11:16

And Richard Sterne, should he win today...

• Would be his seventh European Tour International Schedule victory in his 214th European Tour event.

• Would move to €1,237,594 in The Race to Dubai. This would be the second time during his European Tour career he would have passed €1 million in a single European Tour season. The first was in 2007.

• Could move into the top 25 of the Official World Golf Ranking. This would represent his career-high position, beating 29th he achieved in March 2008.

• Would continue his wonderful 2013 European Tour season. A victory would represent his fifth top ten finish. He was tied seventh in the Alfred Dunhill Championship, second in the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, first in the Joburg Open, tied ninth in the Volvo World Match Play Championship and first in the Alstom Open de France.

11:13

Graeme McDowell, then, should he win...

• Would be his ninth European Tour International Schedule victory in his 244th European Tour event.

• Would move to €1,530,715 in The Race to Dubai and into second place, just €27,185 behind Justin Rose.

• Could move to sixth in the Official World Golf Ranking from ninth.

• Would be his second European Tour victory of the 2013 European Tour season, following the Volvo World Match Play Championship.

• Would become the second multiple winner of the 2013 European Tour season, following Brett Rumford (Ballantine’s Championship and Volvo China Open).

• Would be the third time during his European Tour career he would have recorded multiple victories in the same season. The previous years were 2008 (won twice) and 2010 (won three times).

11:12

Couple of nice facts there from The European Tour twitter. Now we are within half an hour of McDowell and Sterne, let's take a closer look at what victory today would mean for both men...

10:54

Less than an hour until our leaders now with plenty encroaching on their current five under par total. It’s been a funny old week for Thomas Bjorn, having finished his last two rounds with a flurry of bogeys after some marvellous play preceding it. And yet, the in-form Dane is now back within two shots of the lead after a birdie at the second. Could it be his day?

10:31
Two men now within three shots of the lead as Damien McGrane reaches five under through the turn while Northern Ireland's Gareth Shaw is also closing in on compatriot McDowell. Excellent afternoon in store...
09:54

Fine start today for Irishman Damien McGrane, who birdied four of his first five holes to reach one under for the tournament through eight holes today. McGrane has some previous form at Le Golf National, having finished third in 2007 when Graeme Storm returned victorious. I wonder whether someone might have caught Sterne and McDowell by the time they head out? What pressure that would create. A lot of plaudits have to go to both the course designers and indeed the European Tour officials who have set the course up. Fantastic test creating great drama.

09:43
Martin Kaymer (level par) and Marc Warren (-2) fine tune their putting strokes under burning blue skies before heading out.
09:14

Graeme McDowell (-5) - Alstom Open De France - Day 3

Video
09:14

Richard Sterne (-5) - Alstom Open De France - Day 3

Video
09:14

What with all this talk of contenders from far and wide storming through the field to remarkable victories, it’s easy to forget we have two guys tied at the top probably very intent on securing the win in continental Europe’s oldest Open Championship. On the full Live Blog now, let’s hear what they both had to say after their rounds yesterday…

09:08

And while we’re on this great debate, worth noting the biggest final round comebacks by a winner in the long history of the Alstom Open de France: José Rivero came from eight shots back to triumph in 1987, a record matched by Paul Broadhurst in 1995. The lowest score of the week is Anders Hansen’s five under par 66 on Thursday, while Martin Kaymer and Eduardo Romero jointly hold the Golf National course record of 62 (nine under par). When is a door not a door? When it’s ajar.

08:55

Plenty of people out there predicting someone to come through the field to win today. What do you think? Remember you can get involved on twitter and you could feature here. Tag in @european_tour and the hashtag #ETLiveBlog. Warren’s shout below is an interesting one in Simon Khan. One under and four back, the Englishman of course so narrowly missed out to Matteo Manassero at the BMW PGA Championship in a thrilling play-off, but hasn’t done much since. On his day a really super golfer, keep an eye out for him this afternoon.

08:42

Talk about a good start. Richard Finch is showing the field what is possible here at Le Golf National today with a rip-roaring opening to his final round. The Englishman begins birdie-par-eagle-birdie-par-birdie to reach five under par through six holes today. He’s up into a share of 27th currently, one over for the tournament. Does goes to show, though, that there could be a score out there for someone…

08:04

Alstom Open De France - Day 3 Highlights

Video
08:04

If you missed any of the action from an enthralling third day, why not catch up with this concise video highlights package on the full live blog now...

07:16

So what of our two leaders, then, South Africa’s Richard Sterne and Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell? The final pairing are out at 1335 local time and both will be looking for their second European Tour wins of the season. Sterne put his injury nightmare firmly behind him by cruising effortlessly to a first European Tour title in just over four years at the Joburg Open in February, while Ryder Cup star McDowell again showed his prowess in the head-to-head form of the game in defeating Thongchai Jaidee to win the Volvo World Match Play Championship in May. Is it to be one of those men today? With so many players within a few shots (24 within five of the lead currently), it really is wide open.

07:09

Genworth Stats Pack - Round 3 Review

Round 3 produced 17 sub-par rounds and a field average score of 72.65. Graeme McDowell and Richard Sterne lead on -5 with Wiesberger, Howell and Green following close behind. We analyse their performances plus we round up the Genworth Statistics leaders.

06:56

After three quite magnificent days on the picture-perfect yet treacherous L’Albatros course at Le Golf National, Sunday is finally here. Who will be crowned 2013 Alstom Open de France champion come this evening? It’s still anyone’s game and that means a fascinating final day. Follow all the action and all the best social and multimedia content right here on the #ETLiveBlog. Bienvenue, and to the players, bonne chance!

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1MCDOWELL, GraemeNIR18-9
2STERNE, RichardRSA18-5
T3DE LA RIVA, EduardoESP18-4
T3STORM, GraemeENG18-4
5DYSON, SimonENG18-3
T6DONALDSON, JamieWAL18-2
T6GREEN, RichardAUS18-2
T8MAYBIN, GarethNIR18-1
T8GALLACHER, StephenSCO18-1
T8BJÖRN, ThomasDEN18-1

Alstom Open de France  Course Guide

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