Kaymer and McIlroy at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship earlier this year. Credit: golffile.ieUS Open champion Rory McIlroy’s reign as world No 3 was short-lived as Germany’s Martin Kaymer leapfrogged him with a fourth place finish in Paris.

The current US PGA champion finished three strokes behind home hero Thomas Levet in a thrilling Alstom Open de France at Le Golf National as McIlroy watched from the Royal Box as pal Rafael Nadal was beaten by Novak Djokovic in the Wimbledon men’s singles final.

McIlroy appears destined to claim the world No 1 spot at some stage of his career with many believing he will do so this season.

However, former world No 1 Kaymer showed signs of a return to top form in France despite closing with a two over par 73.

Levet, 42, triumphed by a shot from England’s Mark Foster and Dane Thorbjorn Olesen after a closing one under par 70 gave him a win worth €500,000.

Thomas Levet celebrates by jumping into the lake at the 18th with manager Patrice Bartez. Credit: golffile.ieTipped as a potential Ryder Cup captain when the event is played on the Versailles course in 2018, Levet said: “It was just crazy - the way it went was just like a dream.

“The people were going ‘Allez, allez, allez’ and some of them go ‘Captain, captain’. The atmosphere was great - I felt like one of the Tour de France riders climbing a mountain.

“I had everyone behind me basically the same as a Ryder Cup and it was the same adrenaline rush. I was reaching distances I’ve never reached before, but with experience I knew it was going to happen. It’s the first time my kids have seen me win. I’m not done yet!”

Olesen, who missed a four footer on the last that would have forced a play-off, denied Foster the solitary Open Championship place on offer by virtue his higher world ranking.

Peter Lawrie finished as the leading Irishman after a 70 left him tied 21st on two over, earning him €33,000.

Gareth Maybin crashed to a 77 to slip to 47th while Paul McGinley and Michael Hoey had days they will quickly want to forget.

McGinley dropped seven shots over the last four holes as he posted a 79 to tie for 62nd on 14 over while Hoey double bogeyed the 17th and triple bogeyed the last as he shot 80.

The Belfast man avoided last place as England’s Kenny Ferrie, who shot a 10 under 60 in the Open de Andalucia in March, dropped 11 shots in his last five holes en route to an 88.