Miguel Angel Jimenez held his nerve to win the French Open yesterday after a three-way play-off with Spanish compatriot Alejandro Canizares and Francesco Molinari. After completing their fourth and final rounds at Le Golf National with an 11-under-par total of 277, the trio headed back to the tricky par-four 18th for the play-off. Jimenez struck his tee shot down the middle while Molinari, the Italian, found a bunker and Canizares sent his left into the water. After taking a drop, Canizares hit the water a second time, which effectively ended his challenge.
Molinari putted for a one-over-par bogey, leaving the 46-year-old Jimenez to sink his par putt from five metres. It was the Spainard's 17th European Tour win and 10th since he reached the age of 40. It was, though, a massive reprieve for Jimenez, as he had earlier blown a two-shot lead going into the last hole. He had been in stunning form after the turn, sinking five birdies to head for the 18th tee at 13-under with a two-stroke lead over Canizares and Molinari.
A double-bogey, however, set up the play-off. Canizares, who had repaired the damage of two double-bogeys at the end of his third round on Saturday with two birdies in the first three holes, then had a chance to snatch it, but his birdie putt died just short of the hole. Molinari gave himself a chance of winning with a round of 67, which included five birdies and an eagle at the par-four 10th. Overnight leader Martin Kaymer, the defending champion, was also in the mix until a double-bogey at the 15th. He followed that with another double bogey at the tricky 18th to finish seven-under.
Meanwhile, Lee Westwood flew home from Paris last night to have immediate treatment and probably a scan on the right leg injury that bothered him all week at the French Open. The world No 3 was hobbling again for most of a closing 70, which left him down the field on four under par. Westwood was in hospital on Wednesday after fears his problem could be a deep vein thrombosis, but although that did not prove to be the case his condition remains a real concern.
"It got worse as the week went on," he told Press Association Sport. "I had a three-iron at the third from a ball-below-feet lie and I think I just tweaked it. After that I could hardly put any weight on it. Two people think I should have an MRI scan and the sooner that's done the better." * Agencies