Just two days before his 18th birthday, Italy’s Matteo Manassero picked up his second European Tour title with a one-stroke victory over Gregory Bourdy in the Maybank Malaysian Open.
The teenager, who began the final round tied for the lead with Sweden’s Alexander Noren, closed with a four-under-par 68 to end on a four-round total of 16-under-par. Weather delays over Friday and Saturday meant the third round had to be completed early on Sunday morning so it was a long day for the leading players.
Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy, who was leading when play resumed on Sunday, increased his advantage on his first hole of the day with a birdie at the par-5 10th. But, a double-bogey at the 15th saw him back to level par for the round. A late surge from Manassero meant the Italian moved ahead of his young rival at the top of the board.
Manassero began his final round solidly with a par then a birdie at his second hole. He then returned pars all the way to the turn to be out in 35. Meanwhile France’s Gregory Bourdy had made a run on the lead. He fired in four birdies in a row from the 3rd to move to the top of the pile.
But Manassero struck back after the turn. He made a superb eagle at the 10th and followed that up with a birdie two at the next hole to move to 16-under-par. From that point on he was level par to the end and that total was good enough for the victory.
Bourdy made four further birdies on the back nine but a double bogey at the 11th spoiled his chances and he finished at 15-under – good enough for second place on his own.
Rory McIlroy, hoping to bounce back from his Masters disappointment the previous week, looked to have played himself out of the running with a double bogey six at the 12th hole. But he fought back valiantly with birdies a the 14th, 16th and 17th. He was left needing a birdie at the 72nd hole to tie Manassero at the top. He gave himself a chance but it was a long putt and he raced it past the hole. He then missed the returning par effort so he fell behind Bourdy to finish alone in third.
Maybank Malaysian Open
Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club, Malaysia
Apr 14-17, purse $2,500,000, par 72
1 Matteo Manassero (Ita) 66 71 67 68 272 €288,465
2 Gregory Bourdy (Fra) 71 69 66 67 273 €192,308
3 Rory McIlroy (NIR) 69 64 72 69 274 €108,349
T4 Rafael Cabrera-Bello (Esp) 69 70 69 67 275 €79,964
T4 Alexander Noren (Swe) 64 69 71 71 275 €79,964
6 Felipe Aguilar (Chi) 70 70 66 70 276 €60,578
7 Simon Dyson (Eng) 70 64 76 68 278 €51,924
8 MD Siddikur Rahman (Ban) 68 71 71 69 279 €43,270
T9 Alejandro Canizares (Esp) 69 72 68 71 280 €36,693
T9 Martin Kaymer (Ger) 70 71 67 72 280 €36,693
Note: Player in bold signifies Titleist ball usage only