Maybank Malaysian Open: Matteo Manassero Holds off Rory McIlroy to Gain Victory

Rob Picariello@@RobPicarielloCorrespondent IApril 17, 2011

17-year old Matteo Manassero won his second European Tour event at the Malaysian Open
17-year old Matteo Manassero won his second European Tour event at the Malaysian Open

Seventeen-year-old Matteo Manassero shot a final-round 68 to earn his second professional victory on the European Tour. Manassero finished one shot better than Frenchman Gregory Bourdy.

Manassero, who's 18th birthday is on Tuesday, will move up to the 35th-ranked golfer in the world when the new rankings are released next week. He also gains a European Tour exemption through 2013 and qualifies himself for the 2011 Bridgestone Invitational and the World Golf Championships—HSBC Champions events later this year.  

Rory McIlroy, who is just one week removed from his epic collapse at The Masters, finished two shots back in solo third place. McIlroy gave himself a chance to win by birdieing the 14th, 16th and 17th holes to get within one shot of Manassero.

Matteo would par the par-5 18th hole and finish at 16-under with the final group, including McIlroy, right behind him.

Rory would hit his tee shot at the 18th into the rough but was able to get onto the green with a long look at birdie and a share of the lead. McIlroy would buzz his birdie putt by the hole and missed the par putt as well dropping him to a third-place finish. Rory was a little disappointed with how the final hole played out but was, for the most part, happy with the way he played:


"Obviously at this moment I'm pretty disappointed, but it was a good week," McIlroy said. "I started out really well and to shoot the scores I did considering the traveling is a pretty good effort. ... 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."

Rory wasn't the only big name that Manassero was able to hold off en route to victory. Top-ranked golfer in the world Martin Kaymer was in the field and finished tied for ninth place and last week's Masters winner, Charl Schwartzel, finished tied for 11th.

Matteo Manassero burst onto the scene earlier this year when he advanced to the "Sweet 16" of the WGC-Match Play Championship before bowing out to eventual winner Luke Donald.  At just a shade under 18 years of age, get used to seeing Manassero's name near the top of golf leaderboards for many years to come.