Paris, France: Asia’s annus mirabilis on the European Tour continued with Thongchai Jaidee’s victory in the 100th Open de France.
The Thai was a model of consistency over the weekend at Le Golf National, carding consecutive rounds of 68 to post an 11-under winning total following a run of 39 bogey-free holes.
He ended four shots clear of Italian Francesco Molinari with world number four Rory McIlroy a further stroke back in third.
Thongchai’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.
Other Asian winners this season have been Indian SSP Chawrasia (Hero Indian Open), China’s Li Haotong (Volvo China Open) and Wu Ashun (Lyoness Austrian Open) and Koreans Lee Soo-min (Shenzhen International) and Wang Jeung-hun (Trophee Hassan II and AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open).
For Thongchai, it was his eighth European Tour title. His first four European Tour titles all came in Asia, while the next four have all been in Europe.
He said: “I’m very happy to have my family here this week together … and also really happy to win the tournament.
“I know the golf course is fantastic. I’ve been here many, many years and I think it’s a special week for me to win the tournament here.
“Sometimes you need one perfect week. You can’t do well every week. This week is my perfect week because I didn’t miss much. Anything I missed, I found I could lay up and make a good shot and make par.”
Thongchai is the first Asian player to win the Open de France since the event became part of the European Tour in 1972. In 1971, Taiwan’s Lu Liang-huan won the event just a week after finishing runner-up to Lee Trevino at The Open Championship.