France’s Levy wins Volvo China Open

BEIJING: Alexander Levy overturned a seven-stroke deficit in the final round to win the Volvo China Open in a sudden-death playoff on Sunday. The 26-year-old Frenchman became the first two-time winner of the tournament when he beat Dylan Frittelli on the first playoff hole after the South African squandered a big lead. The pair finished tied at the top of a congested leaderboard at 17-under par 271 after Levy closed with a five-under 67 and Frittelli — who was seven in front of the Frenchman at the start of the day and four clear of his nearest rival with nine holes to play — shot a final-round 74.
Replaying the par-5 18th, Levy sealed victory when he drained a 15-foot putt for birdie after Frittelli missed his birdie attempt and settled for par at the Topwin Golf and Country Club.
“Early on, I was never really thinking I could win this tournament,” Levy said. “I only started thinking (of winning) when I saw the leaderboard on 15 and I was only one shot behind.
“It’s an amazing feeling to be back in the winner’s circle.”
Spain’s Pablo Larrazabal, who led at the halfway stage, ended a frustrating final day on the greens with a birdie at the last to finish outright third, just one shot behind at 16-under, after closing with a 72.
Austria’s Bernd Wiesberger (67) and England’s Chris Wood (68) tied for fourth at 15-under. South Korea’s former PGA Championship winner Y E Yang shot a 66, the best score of the day, to finish level with England’s Ross Fisher (67), a further shot adrift.
Frittelli, a teammate of Jordan Spieth when they were both at the University of Texas, looked to be cruising towards his first European Tour title after opening up a four-shot lead with nine holes to play.
The 26-year-old, who lost a playoff at the 2016 Australian PGA Championship, did not drop a single shot in his previous two rounds. But he saw his lead suddenly slashed in half when he double-bogeyed the par-5 12th after his errant drive ended up resting against a tree and he had to take a drop.
He made amends when he drove the green on the 299-yard par-4 15th and made birdie. But he dropped another shot at the par-3 16th and was unable to pick up another birdie, which would have won him the title, at either of the last two holes.
“It stings a little bit,” said Frittelli. “I let it go there in the end but I’m still proud of the way I played this week, it’s a great result — 17 under par on this golf course is nothing to scoff at.
— AFP