Magic Manassero makes history

24/10/2010 16:35:58
Matteo Manassero  (Getty Images)
Matteo Manassero (Getty Images)

Italian sensation Matteo Manassero rewrote The European Tour record books as he stormed to victory at the CASTELLĂ“ MASTERS Costa Azahar.

At 17 years and 188 days, Manassero became the youngest winner in European Tour history, beating the previous record set by New Zealand's Danny Lee, who was 18 years and 213 days old when he won the 2008 Johnnie Walker Classic.

And he breaks the legendary Seve Ballesteros' record as the youngest full European Tour Member by 12 days.

The former British Amateur Champion, who shot to prominence when he won the Silver Medal by finishing 13th at The Open Championship in 2009, carded a four under par final round to finish 16 under, four clear of Ignacio Garrido.

"It's just fantastic," he said. "I always try to work for this moment and now I've done it it's unbelievable, it's a special moment.

"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!"

Having started the final round two shots behind England's Boyd, Manassero applied early pressure with a 12 foot birdie putt at the third before seeing a 40 foot effort rattle in at the par three sixth.

Having halved the gap to a single stroke, Manassero dropped a shot at the seventh but after the turn he ruthlessly pulled clear of Challenge Tour graduate Boyd.

Two behind standing on the 13th tee, Manassero played a brilliant third shot from the bunker to a couple of feet and birdied, left his approach stone dead at the next, then holed from 15 feet at the 15th to complete his hattrick of gains.

"I made some great shots coming in and some good putts, so from 12 to 15 is probably the period where I made the most of this tournament," added Manassero.

"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."

Meanwhile Boyd's previously steady round began to wilt under the pressure - at the 15th he found a bunker from the tee, came up short of the green with his approach and failed to get up and down.

Then at the short 16th, having seen his playing partner play safe and hit his tee shot 35 feet past the pin, which was placed perilously close to the water guarding the front of the green, Boyd aimed for the flagstick, came up short, and double bogeyed.

Another bogey at the next saw Boyd sign for a round of 74 and finish in a tie for third on 11 under with Joost Luiten, Christian Nilsson and Peter Lawrie.

Garrido drained a monster birdie putt at the 17th to ensure sole possession of second on 12 under and a place at next month's Dubai World Championship, but the day belonged to Manassero - who will also now be present at Jumeirah Golf Estates after pocketing €333,330.