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Jaidee claims title as McIlroy plans strategy for Troon

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By Phil Casey

Thailand's Thongchai Jaidee produced a masterclass in frontrunning to win the French Open and claim his eighth European Tour title as a frustrated Rory McIlroy failed to mount a challenge in Paris.

Jaidee began the day with a two-shot lead over McIlroy and Wang Jeunghun and never looked in danger of being caught thanks to a closing 68 at Le Golf National, venue for the 2018 Ryder Cup. The 46-year-old former paratrooper carded four birdies and a solitary bogey on the 18th, his first dropped shot since the 13th hole of his second round, to claim a fourth win since turning 40. At 11 under par, Jaidee finished four shots clear of Italy's Francesco Molinari, whose 66 was the lowest round of the day, with McIlroy another stroke back after a 71 containing one birdie, one bogey and 16 pars.

Birdies on the 11th and 15th effectively sealed victory for Jaidee and lifted him from 57th in the world rankings to inside the top 40 just a fortnight before the Open Championship at Troon.

McIlroy, who has been working hard to eradicate some "bad habits" from his game, never threatened to claim a second win of the season. "It's been a good week to see where I'm at with my game," said McIlroy. "There were signs it was really good and heading in the right direction and today again some signs it was good but a few swings on the back nine I need to work on.

"I've got 10 days until the Open starts. I'm going to be working every day to try and get better and will play a bit of links golf to work on the shots I need for Troon as well."

McIlroy, who lifted the Claret Jug at Hoylake in 2014 but was unable to defend the title last year after suffering an ankle injury playing football, added: "I've not played Troon but am going over for a couple of days to work out what I need to do.

"It was really disappointing last year not to be able to defend. The last time I played the Open I won it so good memories and hopefully I can play similar to the way I did in Liverpool and give myself a chance."

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