VERSAILLES, France - Graeme McDowell produced a final round four-under-par 67 to lead home the field by four strokes and become the first Northern Irishman to win the French Open.
The 2010 US Open winner finished the tournament with a nine-under-par total of 275 as an initially tense final round eventually became a one man show with McDowell cantering home to pick up a winner's cheque of 500,000 euros ($F1.2 million).
His closest rival at Le Golf National, Richard Sterne of South Africa, held the lead after nine holes before collapsing down the stretch and finishing with three bogeys in six holes.
McDowell's rock solid game of just four bogeys throughout the tournament was the cornerstone of his second win of the year.
Sterne settled for second on five-under-par 279.
Englishman Graeme Storm and Spaniard Eduardo De La Riva were paired together for the final round and both men fired two-under-par 69s to claim a share of third spot on four under.
"I've always felt that this golf course is one I can get around well. And coming into this week has been a bit strange for me, too many missed cuts and a little bit inconsistent," said McDowell.
"I felt my confidence coming back and hit the ball beautifully Thursday, Friday, Saturday. And today I was very realistic about my chances."
Sterne led by one shot after nine see-saw holes before McDowell birdied the 10th to draw level and looked on as the South African drove his tee shot on 11 into the deep rough.
With no clear sight of the green, Sterne did well to get within 40 feet of the pin before getting down in two for his first bogey of the afternoon.