Mark Foster (Getty Images)
Mark Foster remained clear of the field as the Alstom Open de France moved towards a tense conclusion at Le Golf National.
Foster, who led after three rounds of last week’s BMW International Open in Munich before eventually finishing in a tie for third, parred his first nine holes - including the long third after he had driven wildly and taken a penalty drop.
That put him two ahead of home favourite Thomas Levet, with Scotland’s Richie Ramsay a shot further back on six under.
James Morrison, who started the day alongside Foster at the top of the leaderboard, had slipped back to five under alongside Thorbjørn Olesen, having started the final round just as he ended the third - by dropping three shots in two holes.
Morrison duffed his approach into the lake on the first and then found it again on the short second.
A birdie at five lifted the Englishman’s spirits, but he soon gave the shot back by bogeying the seventh and another dropped shot followed at the ninth
Ramsay made six on each of the first two par fives, the third and ninth, but Levet recorded three birdies and two bogeys in his first six holes to improve his overnight score by one.
World Number Four Martin Kaymer, the winner of this event two years ago, began the day alongside Levet but suffered the same fate as Morrison at the second and subsequently slipped to three under with a bogey at six.
Kaymer did birdie the long ninth to move back within five of Foster, however, and with the difficult closing holes at Le Golf National known for producing high drama, the German retained faint hopes of victory.