Manassero the Man

Sun 17 Apr 2011

Manassero the Man

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Kuala Lumpur, April 17: Matteo Manassero gave himself the perfect birthday gift by becoming the youngest ever champion of the Maybank Malaysian Open, holding off challenges from Gregory Bourdy and Rory McIlroy on Sunday.

 

The dashing Italian, who turns 18 on Tuesday, produced a superb final round of four-under-par 68, thanks largely to a pivotal eagle three on the 10th hole to triumph by one with a 16-under-par 272 from Frenchman Bourdy, who battled to a 67 at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club.

 

A week after his Masters disappointment where he led for 63 holes before fading away, McIlroy produced a brave fight in the US$2.5 million showpiece, which was celebrating its 50th anniversary and sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour.


The Northern Irishman, the world number nine, battled magnificently on the back nine to give himself a title chance but failed to find the crucial birdie at the last hole to force a play-off with Manassero as he settled for third place with a 69 for a 274 total.


Manassero, who will break into the world’s top-35 with his second career victory, said: “It’s fantastic. I managed to achieve a victory which is just fantastic. To have another win two days before 18, it’s a great achievement.”


The Italian completed his third round this morning with a 67 to enter the final round tied for the lead with Alexander Noren of Sweden and showed his immense talent by emerging atop a crowded leaderboard.


He needed two crucial up and downs for par saves on the eighth and nine holes to turn in 35 before producing the shot of the week by holing out a nine iron approach for an eagle three at the par five 10th hole to grab the lead from Bourdy.


Two more birdies and a lone bogey ensured Manassero, who eclipsed last year’s winner Noh Seung-yul of Korea as the youngest champion, stayed ahead of the chasing pack as he picked up the Seagram Trophy from Malaysian prime minister Dato’ Seri Najib Tun Razak and a winner’s cheque of US$416,660.


“The up and downs on eight and nine were very big. They left me on top of the leaderboard at one behind Bourdy at the time. Two great up and downs from the bunker and then holing a nine iron on 10 (for eagle) was maybe the turning point and made me think of the possibility of winning,” said Manassero, who was last season’s Rookie of the Year in Europe.


“It wasn’t easy. It was tough. 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. I managed quite well. Fortunately I ended up like this.”


Asked how he planned to celebrate his birthday on Tuesday, Manassero said he would be looking at altering his playing schedule as a place in the world’s top-50 would get him into the Majors.


McIlroy, 21, was disappointed with the result but soaked in the positives. “To shoot the scores that I did considering the travelling is a pretty good effort. I’m disappointed with the result but everything else was positive. I’m proud at how I picked myself up from last week and the way I came back on the back nine today,” he said.


He tipped his hat to the Manassero for a well deserved victory. “Matteo is fantastic. He is a great talent. He turns 18 on Tuesday and to get two wins on the European Tour before your 18th birthday is pretty special. He is great and we’ve known he is a great player. He deserves it.”


Bangladesh’s Siddikur was the top Asian Tour finisher in eighth place after he signed off with a 69 to finish seven shots behind the winner. He produced a grandstand finish with a birdie on the last which was received by a rapturous applause by the spectators.


“The crowd was very supportive and they cheered me on. It felt like I won the tournament after my birdie (18th hole). I had many supporters following me today. I’m happy to finish in the top-10 and show the world that a player from Bangladesh can perform in such a big event,” said Siddikur, the 2010 Brunei Open champion.


World number one Martin Kaymer of Germany finished in tied ninth place after closing with a 72 while Masters Tournament champion Charl Schwartzel of South Africa claimed a share of 11th place after a 70.


Danny Chia, the lone Malaysian who made the halfway cut, settled for tied 41st position with a final round 76.


Leading final round scores

272 - Matteo MANASSERO (ITA) 66-71-67-68.

273 - Gregory BOURDY (FRA) 71-69-66-67.

274 - Rory MCILROY (NIR) 69-64-72-69.

275 - Rafael CABRERA-BELLO (ESP) 69-70-69-67, Alexander NOREN (SWE) 64-69-71-71.

276 - Felipe AGUILAR (CHI) 70-70-66-70.

278 - Simon DYSON (ENG) 70-64-76-68.

279 - SIDDIKUR (BAN) 68-71-71-69.

280 - Alejandro CANIZARES (ESP) 69-72-68-71, Martin KAYMER (GER) 70-71-67-72.

281 - Charl SCHWARTZEL (RSA) 73-71-67-70, Stephen GALLACHER (SCO) 67-70-72-72.

282 - Robert ROCK (ENG) 70-71-70-71, Shiv KAPUR (IND) 71-69-71-71, James MORRISON (ENG) 69-71-70-72, Soren KJELDSEN (DEN) 73-70-72-67.


Ends.


For enquiries, please contact the Asian Tour’s Chuah Choo Chiang or Doyle De Costa at the Maybank Malaysian Open on +6012 236 2427. Also visit www.asiantour.com for live scoring.


About Maybank

Maybank was incorporated on 31 May 1960 and commenced operations on 12 September 1960. On 17 February 1962, Maybank was listed on the then Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange (today Bursa Malaysia).


The Maybank Group is the country’s leading financial services group with an international network of over 1,750 branches and offices in 14 countries namely, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines, Brunei Darussalam, Vietnam, Cambodia, Papua New Guinea,  People’s Republic of China, Bahrain, Uzbekistan, Pakistan, United Kingdom and United States of America.


The Group offers a comprehensive range of financial services and products ranging from commercial banking, investment banking, Islamic banking, credit cards, offshore banking, leasing and hire purchase, insurance, factoring, trustee services, asset management, stock broking, nominee services, venture capital and Internet banking.


In December 2005, Maybank signed on as the Title Sponsor of the country's premier golf tournament, the Malaysian Open from 2006 until 2010.


 

About the Malaysian Golf Association

Founded in 1929, the Malaysian Golf Association (MGA) as the sole governing body of golf in Malaysia has been entrusted to promote the game while preserving its traditions and integrity.


It’s a non-government organization that runs by volunteers who are passionate about the game with the help of a team of management staff.


The Association’s portfolios have increased over the years ranging from conducting 14 state amateur opens, national amateur open, national amateur close, Malaysian Open to processing handicaps through its National Handicap System to promoting grassroot programs and training of the athletes to represent Malaysia in the international events.


We take our responsibilities seriously in promoting the game in Malaysia while simultaneously upholding the Rules of Golf as prescribed by the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews (R&A).

 

About the Asian Tour

As the official sanctioning body for professional golf in Asia, the Asian Tour leads the development of golf across the region, enhancing the careers of its members while maintaining a commitment to the integrity of the game. The Asian Tour, through its membership of the International Federation of PGA Tours, is the only recognised pan-Asian professional golf tour in Asia. This unique feature positions the Asian Tour at the pinnacle of professional golf in Asia; providing its events with Official World Ranking status. Tour Partners include J.Lindeberg (Official Apparel Partner), Ricoh (Official Office Solutions Provider), Inetol Headwear (Official Headwear Supplier), Royal Selangor (Official Trophy Supplier), Singha Beer (Official Beer), Pan Pacific (Official Hotel), BlackBerry (Official Mobile) and Srixon (Official Ball). The Asian Tour has offices in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.

 

About the European Tour

The PGA European Tour is an organisation which operates the three leading men's professional golf tours in Europe: the elite European Tour, the Senior Tour and the developmental Challenge Tour. Its headquarters are at Wentworth Club in Virginia Water, Surrey, England. The European Tour is the primary golf tour in Europe.


The European Tour was established by the British-based Professional Golfers' Association, and responsibility was transferred to an independent PGA European Tour organisation in 1984. Most events on the PGA European Tour's three tours are held in Europe, but in recent years an increasing number have been held in other parts of the world outside of North America.


The PGA European Tour is a golfer-controlled organisation whose primary purpose is to maximise the income of tournament golfers. It is a company limited by guarantee and is run by a professional staff but controlled by its playing members via a board of directors composed of 12 elected past and present tour players and a Tournament Committee of 14 current players. As of 2007, the Chairman of the Board is Neil Coles and the Chairman of the Tournament Committee is Thomas Bjørn.

About GlobalOne

GlobalOne is an executive lifestyle sports marketing consultancy founded in 1987 and works with sports governing bodies, broadcasters, commercial sponsors and other partners to create effective sports properties and events that deliver on the bottom-line. Our extensive experience blankets executive lifestyle sports marketing as well as media marketing which spans across all sports, cultures and geographies.


GlobalOne serves an expanding stable of prestigious Asia-Pacific clients through a network offices in Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Indonesia. We have in the past created partnerships in golf, motor racing, sailing, tennis, rugby, skiing, athletics, basketball, cycling and skiing. Today, GlobalOne’s primary focus and area of sports rights ownership is professional golf.


GlobalOne currently stages two highly successful tournaments in Asia – the Maybank Malaysian Open and the Enjoy Jakarta Astro Indonesia Open – all of which enjoy European Tour and Asian Tour co-sanctioning. Over the past six years, GlobalOne has promoted a total of 21 events, all co-sanctioned by the European and Asian Tours, with total prize money in excess of US$20 million. GlobalOne has also staged the first World Cup of Golf in Asia, at China’s Mission Hills in 1995, and a second World Cup of Golf event in Kuala Lumpur in 1999.


For more information, log onto www.maybankmalaysianopen.com