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McDowell retains French Open title

Associated Press
Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland poses with his trophy after winning the French Open Golf tournament at Paris National course in Guyancourt, west of Paris, France, Sunday, July 6, 2014. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
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SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France (AP) — Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland made the best of tough conditions to retain his French Open title by firing a 4-under 67 in the final round to win by a stroke on Sunday.

In pouring rain, McDowell made five birdies and a bogey for the lowest round of the day to finish with a 5-under 279 total.

Overnight leader Kevin Stadler made three birdies and dropped eight shots for a 76 to share second place with Thongchai Jaidee, who carded a 72.

Stadler had a chance on the last hole to become the first American to win this tournament since Barry Jaeckel in 1972, but he missed a long birdie putt.

McDowell clinched the victory when Stadler then failed to convert a par putt from three feet that would have forced a playoff.

Stadler went into the final round with a four-shot lead over Thongchai and Victor Riu. He even got a five-stroke cushion when Riu double-bogeyed the second hole by finding water off the tee.

Soon, Stadler put himself in trouble by missing short par putts on No. 4 and No. 6. He then double-bogeyed No. 7 by hooking his tee shot into the rough before missing the fairway with his second shot.

Another errant tee shot from Stadler on No. 8 gave Riu a share of the lead.

The title chase reached a climax when McDowell and Jamie Donaldson birdied respectively the 13th and 14th to join them atop the leaderboard.

McDowell sank a birdie putt from more than 20 feet on No. 16 to move three strokes clear. But Stadler made a strong charge to get back into contention, tying the defending champion with a birdie on No. 16.

Robert Karlsson placed fourth with a 281 total, one stroke clear of Donaldson and Matthew Baldwin.

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