Alexander Levy became the first man to win the Volvo China Open twice as he defeated Dylan Frittelli in a play-off at Topwin Golf and Country Club.

The 2014 champion began round four seven shots behind the overnight leader but birdied the last in a 67 to get to 17 under and pile the pressure on the South African.

Frittelli sent his second shot into the last over the hospitality tent and had to settle for a par, a closing 74 and a trip back up the 18th.

Levy found the fairway off the tee while Frittelli sent his drive right into a bunker but after the Frenchman found sand with his second, both men were left with birdie putts.

Frittelli missed his attempt and Levy rolled home from 15 feet to claim victory and a perfect birthday present for caddie Tom Ayling.

The triumph offers Levy some redemption after he lost a play-off in China at the 2014 BMW Masters and hands him his second consecutive victory via a play-off after his win at the Porsche European Open in September.

For Frittelli it was a second play-off defeat after the 2016 Australian PGA Championship but Levy – now a four-time winner – is already targeting 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,” he said. “I will do a lot of work to play the Ryder Cup and I will do my best to be part of the team.”

He added: “That’s an amazing feeling to be back in the winner’s circle.

“This means a lot because it was the first tournament I won on the European Tour.

“I won last year 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.

“Happy birthday to my caddie because it’s his birthday today and I think it’s a really good present.”

Pablo Larrazábal began the day as Frittelli’s closest challenger and the Spaniard signed for a closing 72 to finish at 16 under, a shot clear of Austrian Bernd Wiesberger and England’s Chris Wood.

Larrazábal three-putted the first and then failed to get up and down from a greenside bunker on the par three second and Frittelli’s lead was quickly up to five shots.

The leader had played the first four holes in textbook fashion but a putt from the fringe on the fifth almost rolled back to his feet and he dropped a first shot in 44 holes.

A recovery came quickly, however, with Frittelli putting his approach to the seventh to two feet and moving back to 19 under.

Larrazábal hit a stunning second into the par five eighth and while he had to settle for a birdie, Frittelli could only make par after failing to get up and down from the sand.

Levy made a steady start before going birdie-bogey-birdie from the sixth and when he hit a stunning approach to tap-in range on the ninth to turn in 34, he was creeping up on the leader.

Another birdie on the 11th had Levy alongside Larrazábal but that was soon just two back as Frittelli made a mess of the 12th. He had to take a drop after resting against a tree off the tee and two poor shots around the green saw him record a double-bogey.

Levy then played a beautiful chip on the short par four 15th and the lead was down to just a single shot.

Frittelli responded brilliantly, driving the same hole and then getting down in two but he did well to bogey the next after putting his tee-shot next to a large rock and leaving his first putt short.

A fourth clutch putt in a row from around six feet sent Frittelli to the last tee with a one-shot lead but ahead of him Levy hit the green in two for a birdie to set up the late drama.

“It stings a little bit,” said Frittelli. “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 proud of Alex, he played well there to come back. Most people probably thought I had it in the bag with 18 holes to go but he stuck to it and played well there in the play-off.

“A couple of mistakes on the back nine, with two bad breaks, but I’ll take the good and the bad, and definitely work on getting in there and getting in contention later down the season.

“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.”

Wiesberger – last week’s winner after a play-off in Shenzhen – carded a closing 67 with Wood signing for a 68.

YE Yang – the 2010 champion – recorded the round of the day in a 66 to join Ross Fisher at 14 under, a shot clear of George Coetzee and two ahead of Jorge Campillo and Soomin Lee.

Source: www.europeantour.com