McIlroy blows another final-day lead to provide teenage kicks for Italian prodigy

Click to follow
The Independent Online

The Italian teenager Matteo Manassero held off challenges from Gregory Bourdy and Rory McIlroy to win the 2011 Maybank Malaysian Open yesterday.

A final round of 68 helped Manassero finish 16 under par as the leaders played 27 holes on the last day following weather delays throughout the week.

The 17-year-old became the youngest-ever European Tour winner when he took the Castello Masters in Spain last year and this win in Malaysia is now his second victory on the tour.

Bourdy finished a shot off the lead after carding a final round 67, while McIlroy finished a shot further back after losing from a winning position for the second time in a fortnight following his disastrous final round at the Masters.

An eagle on the par five 10th was the highlight of Manassero's final round, with two birdies and a bogey adding to his impressive final-round score of four under.

Manassero said he was proud of what he had achieved and happy he would now be playing in the remaining majors of the year. "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."

McIlroy came out on the final day and extended his overnight lead with a birdie on 10. But he was passed by the end of the third round after a double-bogey at the par three 15th left him on par for the round.

Another double-bogey and two further bogeys hindered McIlroy's final round to leave him third overall and two shots behind Manassero, and he was unhappy with the result given his great start.

But overall the Irishman thought he had enjoyed a good week and was happy with his response to his crushing disappointment in Augusta the previous week. "To shoot the scores that I did considering the travelling [from Augusta to Malaysia] is a pretty good effort," 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, who won his first European Tour event as a 19-year-old, also praised the performance of Manassero. "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. "We've known he is a great player. He deserves it."