Manassero wins, McIlroy stumbles

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Italy’s Matteo Manassero, still a few days shy of turning 18, won his second title on Sunday at the Maybank Malaysian Open.

Italy’s Matteo Manassero, still a few days shy of turning 18, won his second European Tour title on Sunday by claiming the Maybank Malaysian Open.

The teenager saw off challenges from Frenchman Gregory Bourdy and Rory McIlroy, who for the second week in a row had to see the win go to another player after leading for most of the week.

Manassero shot a final-round 68 to finish on 16-under-par on a marathon Sunday where the leading players had to complete 27 holes following weather delays throughout the week.

One shot back was Gregory Bourdy, after a final-round 67, while McIlroy finished two back after a solid 69 that simply did not prove enough.

Manassero, who made two birdies, a bogey and a superb eagle on the par-five 10th on Sunday, already made history by becoming the youngest ever winner on the European Tour when he won the Castello Masters in Spain last year, and his victory this week is now his second on Tour.

“It’s a great achievement after just 11 months of professional golf,” Manassero told europeantour.com.

“It’s a great achievement for myself and gets me into the majors – I just missed Augusta but playing the other three will be fantastic.”

“I had a really good week from the beginning,” he said.

“I didn’t miss many shots apart from the second round when I didn’t play great but I was still able to finish well and get in contention. I had a really good weekend and managed to get the win.”

As pleased as he is with his performance, Manassero already has his sights set on more wins.

“I’m really proud of that and the next target will be winning another tournament and keeping the momentum going. It’s going well and we’ll see what happens,” he said.

McIlroy, meanwhile, had a poor finish to his third round on Sunday morning to blame for surrendering the lead. Though he started well with a birdie at 10 upon resumption of play, a double bogey at the par-three 15th saw him lose his advantage. He wouldn’t get it back again, with his final-round 69 plagued by more bogeys and even another double.

“At this moment I’m pretty disappointed but it was a good week,” he said.

“I started off really well in the tournament. To shoot the scores that I did considering the travelling [from Augusta to Malaysia] is a pretty good effort.”

Still, considering the epic disappointment at Augusta only a week ago, McIlroy had to be satisfied with bouncing back so quickly for a third-place finish.

“It has been a good week, I enjoyed coming to Kuala Lumpur,” he said.

“I’m disappointed with the result but everything else was positive. I’m proud of myself at how I picked myself up from last week and the way I came back on the back nine today.”

McIlroy also praised Manassero’s performance.

“Matteo is fantastic. He is a great talent – to get two wins on the European Tour before your 18th birthday is pretty special,” he said.

“He is great and we’ve known he is a great player. He deserves it.”

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