Manassero takes Malaysian Open title

Sports Network

, Last Updated: 8:11 AM ET

Italy's Matteo Manassero closed with a four-under 68 Sunday to pick up a one-stroke win at the Malaysian Open.

Manassero, who will turn 18 years old on Tuesday, finished his second European Tour title at 16-under-par 272. He also won the Castello Masters last year.

"It's fantastic. It is a great feeling to have achieved two victories in 11 months of professional golf," Manassero said.

It was long Sunday for most of the field. Weather problems each of the first three days forced the completion of the third round into Sunday morning. Manassero played the last 27 holes of the tournament on Sunday.

The 17-year-old polished off a five-under 67 in the third round to share the 54-hole lead with Alexander Noren at minus-12.

Gregory Bourdy posted a 67 in the final round at Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club to take second place at minus-15.

Rory McIlory was in contention a week after shooting 80 in the final round at the Masters. That tough final round dropped him from the lead into a share of 15th place.

McIlroy trailed by three strokes with four holes to play Sunday, but birdied 16 and 17, then could have won with an eagle on the par-five 18th. However, he took three shots to reach the putting surface, then three-putted for bogey to close a round of three-under 69. He finished in third at 14-under-par 274.

World No. 1 Martin Kaymer had four birdies, two bogeys and a double-bogey in an even-par round of 72. He shared ninth place at minus-eight.

Newly crowned Masters champion Charl Schwartzel managed a two-under 70 on Sunday to finish tied for 11th at seven-under-par 281.

Manassero did most of his damage on the back nine. He birdied the par-four second, from six feet out, to go with eight pars on the front nine. He made the turn one stroke out of the lead.

That changed quickly though as Manassero holed out for eagle on the par-five 10th to move atop the leaderboard at 15-under. He came right back with an eight-foot birdie putt on the 11th to extend his margin to two strokes.

Manassero tripped to a bogey on the 12th and was suddenly tied for the lead with Bourdy, who birdied three of four holes from the 12th. Bourdy parred his last three holes to end at minus-15.

After a par on the 13th, Manassero got that lost stroke back with a 10-footer for birdie on the 14th. He again led by one, and it held up as he made par on the last four holes.

"I believe in myself, but you never know when the week is going to come," admitted Manassero. "You must every single week try to make that week happen. I would never think that in 11 months I'd have two wins."

Bourdy totaled eight birdies, a bogey and a double-bogey in his round of 67.

McIlroy collected three birdies in a four-hole stretch from the eighth to jump to 14-under. He was two back at that point, but he couldn't recover from a disastrous, three-putt double-bogey on the par-four 12th.

NOTES: With the win, Manassero holds the top two spots among youngest winners in European Tour history...Reigning British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen played all four rounds with Schwartzel, but Oosthuizen struggled over the last two rounds...Oosthuizen closed with rounds of 76-75 to end at plus-seven...The European Tour heads to China next week for China Open, where Y.E. Yang is expected to defend his title.


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