Matteo Manassero has made history in winning the Castelló Masters Costa Azahar at Club de Campo del Mediterraneo in Spain. The 17-year-old has become the youngest ever winner on the European Tour.
The teenage Italian began the final round two shots behind England’s Gary Boyd, but he piled on the pressure as the tournament approached its climax. The 2009 Amateur Champion made three birdies in a row from the 13th to take a two-shot advantage into the difficult closing stretch.
Boyd tried to fight back by attacking the pin at the testing par-3 16th. But he came up just short in the water, dropped out and failed to get up-and-down. The resulting double bogey five effectively took him out of the running.
Showing maturity beyond his years, Manassero held his nerve down the stretch. He played two sublime shots to the long par-4 17th and made an easy par. He did exactly the same on the 18th. After just missing his birdie effort on the final green, he was left with a tap-in for par and a four shot victory. In just 15 events on the 2010 European Tour (only 12 of those as a professional,) the youngster has amassed earnings of nearly €650,000.
“I couldn’t really imagine being a winner in my first year and I just tried to keep my card but I’m a winner already,” he said. “I was very nervous. I was a bit nervous at the beginning, then I got more relaxed then at the end I was obviously very nervous even though I had a good cushion.”
Manassero replaces Danny Lee as the youngest European Tour winner and has also broken Seve Ballesteros’s record as the youngest full European Tour member.
Spain’s Ignacio Garrido snuck through the field to finish the tournament alone in second while Gary Boyd slipped back into a tie for third with Peter Lawrie, Joost Luiten and Christian Nilsson.
Castelló Masters Costa Azahar.
Club de Campo del Mediterraneo, Valencia, Spain
October 21-24, purse €2,000,000, par 71
1 Matteo Manassero (Ita) 68 66 67 67 268 €333,330
2 Ignacio Garrido (Esp) 70 66 68 68 272 €222,220
T3 Gary Boyd (Eng) 68 68 63 74 273 €95,000
T3 Peter Lawrie (Ire) 72 64 67 70 273 €95,000
T3 Joost Luiten (Ned) 68 72 65 68 273 €95,000
T3 Christian Nilsson (Swe) 68 67 66 72 273 €95,000
7 Gonzalo Fdez-Castano (Esp) 68 66 70 70 274 €60,000
T8 Nicolas Colsaerts (Bel) 70 67 69 69 275 €41,200
T8 Jean-Baptiste Gonnet (Fra) 66 71 71 67 275 €41,200
T8 Peter Hedblom (Swe) 69 64 71 71 275 €41,200
T8 Carl Suneson (Esp) 68 69 67 71 275 €41,200
T8 Martin Wiegele (Aut) 71 66 69 69 275 €41,200
Note: Player in bold signifies Titleist ball usage only