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Jimenez uses experience to claim French Open

Miguel Angel Jimenez celebrates his victory at the French Open after winning a three-way play-off.
Miguel Angel Jimenez celebrates his victory at the French Open after winning a three-way play-off.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Spain's Miguel Angel Jimenez wins three-way playoff to win French Open
  • 46-year-old Jimenez secures 17th European Tour victory after a par at first extra hole
  • Jimenez double bogeys the final hole in regulation play to go into the extra holes
  • Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland cards a closing 66 to finish fourth

(CNN) -- Miguel Angel Jimenez came out on top in a dramatic finish to the the French Open after beating Alejandro Canizares of Spain and Italian Francesco Molinari in a play-off at Le Golf National in Paris.

The 46-year-old Spaniard secured his 17th European Tour victory after holing a 15-foot putt for par at the 18th, the first extra hole.

Molinari could only manage a bogey five after finding trouble off the tee, while Canizares' challenge ended abruptly as he found the water twice.

"Experience is always important," Jimenez told the official European Tour website.

"These two guys are playing very well. But, you know, the experience, also, is one of the keys. On 18, I hit my ball in the middle of the fairway and both of them missed the fairway.

"One of most important things is keep breathing and tell yourself to relax, breathe."

One of most important things is keep breathing and tell yourself to relax, breathe
--Miguel Angel Jimenez
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The testing par-four 18th hole proved pivotal to the fate of championship with Jimenez holding a two-shot lead on the final tee in regulation play.

But his second shot to the green found the water and the eventual double bogey six left him tied on 11-under 273 with Molinari and Canizares.

Jimenez had been in superb form throughout his round, sinking five birdies on the back nine to take control of the championship before his last-hole blunder.

It was his second playoff win of the year, having beaten European number one Lee Westwood to the title at the Dubai Desert Classic and he moves to number five in the rankings for the European Ryder Cup team.

Molinari, who closed with a superb 67, would have taken that position had he won the title, while Canizares, the son of 1989 Ryder Cup hero Jose-Maria, has the consolation of a spot in the British Open for his performance in France.

Behind the leading three, Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland set the early clubhouse pace on 10-under after a superb 66, just missing a birdie putt on the 18th which would have put him in the playoff.

Overnight leader Martin Kaymer, the defending champion, was also in the hunt until a double bogey at the 15th.

He also fell foul of the 18th for another double bogey to finish seven-under and in a five-way tie for sixth.