x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Manassero keeps calm for 'fantastic' win at Malaysian Open

Italian teenager Matteo Manassero upstages US Masters winner Charl Schwartzel to win the Malaysian Open as Rory McIlroy fades in the final round again.

Matteo Manassero taps in at the 18th hole to finish a round of 68 and win the Malaysian Open yesterday.
Matteo Manassero taps in at the 18th hole to finish a round of 68 and win the Malaysian Open yesterday.

KUALA LUMPUR // Matteo Manassero, the Italian teenager, shot a four-under 68 yesterday to earn a one-stroke victory at the Malaysian Open, upstaging Charl Schwartzel, the Masters champion, and Rory McIlroy.

Manassero had an eagle on the par-5 10th and added two birdies on the back nine to finish at 16-under 272 two days before his 18th birthday.

Gregory Bourdy was second after a 67 that included eight birdies. The Frenchman charged up the leader board with four consecutive birdies beginning at the third hole, but he bogeyed the eighth and had a double bogey on No 11.

McIlroy had a 69 and was third, two shots back, after a holding the second-round lead as he tried to bounce back from his Masters collapse last Sunday.

He had four birdies and a bogey on the first 11 holes, but stumbled with a double bogey on No 12. However, he rallied with three more birdies and could have forced a play-off with another birdie on the par-5 18th, but his hopes evaporated when his second shot went too far to the right.

"Obviously at this moment I'm pretty disappointed, but it was a good week," McIlroy said. "I started out really well and to shoot the scores I did considering the travelling is a pretty good effort."

McIlroy, who had to take a nearly 30-hour flight to Malaysia and arrived only a day before the tournament began, looked tired during the final round, despite maintaining his smile for the huge crowd swarming him.

However, his caddie 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, 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. "It's just not easy to concentrate, especially to stay calm."

Manassero will move up to 35th in the world rankings next week, after becoming the Malaysian Open's youngest winner.

Schwartzel shot a 70 and finished tied for 11th at seven-under 281.Martin Kaymer, the world No 1, was eight shots back in a tie for ninth.