Manassero wins in Malaysia; McIlroy comes up short
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – Italian teenager Matteo Manassero eagled the par-5 10th hole Sunday to help secure a one-shot victory over Frenchman Gregory Bourdy at the Malaysian Open.
Two days before his 18th birthday, Manassero added two more birdies on the back nine on his way to a 4-under 68 to finish with a 16-under total of 272. Bourdy made a charge up the leaderboard with four consecutive birdies beginning at the third hole, but he bogeyed the eighth and had a double bogey on the 11th. He finished with eight birdies in a 67.
Rory McIlroy (69) had to settle for third, two shots back, after holding the second-round lead as he tried to bounce back from his Masters collapse last Sunday. The Northern Irishman had four birdies and a lone bogey on the first 11 holes but seemingly fell out of contention with a double bogey on the 12th. However, he rallied with three more birdies and could have forced a playoff with another birdie on the par-5 18th, but his hopes evaporated when his second shot went too far to the right.
Manassero, who became the European Tour's youngest winner with his victory at last year's Castello Masters, said it was "just fantastic" to earn another trophy before turning 18.
"It was tough," he said. "The course is really tight and all the players were doing good and playing well. It's just not easy to concentrate, especially to stay calm."
Martin Kaymer, No. 1 in the world rankings, was eight shots back in a tie for ninth while Masters champion Charl Schwartzel finished another stroke behind after a 70.
McIlroy, who had to take a nearly 30-hour flight to Malaysia and arrived only a day before the tournament began, looked visibly tired during the final round, despite maintaining his smile for the huge crowd swarming around him.
However, his caddy ran out of patience when some spectators ignored the ban on taking photos while players were teeing off and asked officials to confiscate some of the cameras.
Manassero will move up to 35th in the world rankings next week. He received the winner's check of $416,6660 and became the Malaysian Open's youngest winner.