Alexander Levy became the first man to win the Volvo China Open twice after a dramatic play-off victory over Dylan Frittelli at the Volvo China Open.
The Frenchman began the final round seven shots off the pace but birded the last to card a five-under 67 at Topwin Golf and Country Club, joining Frittelli on 17-under, before draining a birdie at the first play-off hole for his fourth European Tour title.
Dylan Frittelli saw his early lead reach five strokes after Pablo Larrazabal three-putted the first and bogeyed the second, ending his chances.
But ultimately, the South African, blew a three-shot lead settling for par on the 72nd hole, after firing his approach shot into the hospitality tents, carding a final-round 74 (2-over).
Levy split the fairway off the tee, on the first extra hole, while Frittelli pushed his drive into a bunker. The Frenchman found the green-side sand with his second, leaving both players with lengthy birdie putts.
Frittelli, 26, missed the birdie putt on the first playoff hole and witnessed Levy drain his own 15-footer for birdie and the tournament.
Unfortunately for Frittelli, it was a second play-off defeat after the 2016 Australian PGA Championship, which saw Nathan Holman become the 17th consecutive Australian to win the title.
Frittelli banked $325,000 for his second European Tour runner-up finish and was in an upbeat mood after the final day’s drama:
“It stings a little bit. 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.
“I’m sure I’m going to win, hopefully, this season – that would be a great goal to achieve. I am hoping to have a very long career, so I’m not going to let this get me down or be upset with anything.”
For Levy, it was utter jubilation, as he picked up a check for $488,000 which sees him move up to 11th in the Race to Dubai, European money list.
“It’s an amazing feeling to be back in the winner’s circle,” Levy, 26, said. “This means a lot because it was the first tournament I won on the European Tour.
“I won last year (Porsche European Open) after a bad injury and to come back with the win was very tough for me. I’m really happy with what I did today.”
The Frenchman now has his sights set on a home Ryder Cup appearance at Le Golf National in 2018:
“It’s a goal and a dream for me to play the Ryder Cup in France. I will do a lot of work to play the Ryder Cup and I will do my best to be part of the team.”
If he were to make the squad, captioned by Thomas Bjorn, Levy would be the fourth French player represent Europe after Jean Van de Velde in 1999, Thomas Levet in 2004 and Victor Dubuisson in 2014 at Gleneagles.
Levy also makes a huge leap up in the world rankings, from his 102nd position last week he is now ranked at 74th, pushing for that top 50 spot and WGC and Major commitments.
Pablo Larrazabal birdied the final hole to card a level-par 72 and securing him solo third place, with Shenzhen International champion Bernd Wiesberger having another strong finish, closing with a 67, finishing tied for fourth alongside Chris Wood (68).
Y.E Yang, the 2010 champion, shot the round of the day with a 66 to share sixth with Ross Fisher at 14-under, with George Coetzee a further stroke back.
Defending champion, 21-year-old, Haotong Li posted a two-under 70 to sit tied-11th with Frenchman Mike Lorenzo-Vera, who fired four consecutive birdies coming home to shoot at a superb 67.