Retief Goosen last night effectively gave up his crown as European No 1 despite claiming his second victory in the 34th and final Lancôme Trophy.
Goosen saw a five-shot lead reduced to just one on the back nine before seeing off the challenge of the Ryder Cup hero, Paul McGinley, to complete a wire-to-wire victory.
The South African carded a final-round 70 for an 18-under-par total of 266, four shots ahead of McGinley with England's Ian Poulter sharing third place alongside France's Raphael Jacquelin a shot further back.
It was Goosen's fourth victory in France and the £209,000 first prize gave him an outside chance of topping the Order of Merit for a third year running.
The 34-year-old still trails his compatriot, Ernie Els, by £1m, but with almost £1.5m up for grabs in the next three events, could still have pulled off an unlikely hat-trick.
But the 2001 US Open champion then revealed he was not playing the lucrative Dunhill Links championships, with a first prize of more than £500,000, and will play in America that week instead.
"It's a great event and it's nice to see them put that sort of prize money in but it's not a format that suits me," said Goosen, whose win took him to 10th in the Order of Merit.
"Last year at Kingsbarns we played six-and-a-half-hour rounds and in weather like that, sitting on every tee for 20 minutes, I get stiff too quickly."
Goosen began the day three shots ahead and stretched his lead to five after he birdied the first and playing partner McGinley bogeyed. But the drama was to come at the 11th.
With McGinley sitting just eight feet from the hole, Goosen took two to escape from rough to the right of the fairway to make bogey..
That led to a double-bogey six and after Goosen had missed for par, McGinley holed to close the gap to just one shot.
Goosen responded to the threat in style with birdies at the next two holes, the second from a matter of inches, to edge three ahead again, which eventually proved decisive.Reuse content