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Youngest winners in Tour history
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Youngest winners in Tour history

Matteo Manassero, who holds the record as the youngest winner in European Tour history, celebrated his birthday on April 19. We take a closer look at the youngest teenage sensations who made their mark with a victory.

Matteo Manassero

Matteo Manassero – 17 years, 188 days

At just 17 years old, Matteo Manassero played his way in to the record books with his impressive four stroke win at the 2010 CASTELLO MASTERS Costa Azahar.

Manassero had started the final day two shots behind Gary Boyd, but Italian quickly halved the gap with a 12 foot birdie putt at the third before seeing a 40 foot effort rattle in at the par three sixth.

Making the turn in one under after a dropped shot at the seventh, Manassero hit his stride, making three birdies in a row from the 13th to move ahead by one. Meanwhile, Boyd’s fortunes began to turn the other way, with a bogey, double-bogey, bogey stretch from the 15th that left him five shots back and out of contention.

In the end, Manassero would sign for a four under final round of 67 saw him finish at 16 under, four clear of Ignacio Garrido.

The Italian teenager already had a string of impressive accolades to his name prior to his win. He became the youngest Amateur Championship winner in history as a 16 years old in 2009, finished as the youngest winner of the silver medal for the leading amateur at the Open at Turnberry, and the youngest player to make the cut at the Masters. The latter record was beaten by Tianlang Gun, who was 14 years old when he made the cut at Augusta National in 2013.

Matteo Manassero

Matteo Manassero – 17 years, 363 days

Just two days before his 18th birthday, Manassero won again at the 2011 Maybank Malaysian Open.

It was a dramatic final day that saw the leaders having to play 27 holes due to six hours of weather delays earlier in the week, and it was Rory McIlroy that looked to be in early control of the contest before he was passed by both Manassero and Alex Noren after the end of the third round.

A fast start put Grégory Bourdy out in front, and he recovered from two mid-round mistakes to post the clubhouse target at 15-under. Undeterred, Manassero birdied the second, and soon joined Bourdy at the top of the leaderboard after holing his approach at the tenth for eagle. He gained the lead just one hole later, and although he dropped a shot at the 12th, a ten foot downhill putt for birdie on the 14th moved him in front once more, and this time he kept his composure to par his way in for his second European Tour win.

“I couldn’t imagine anything better – going back home to celebrate my 18th birthday and my second victory on The European Tour,” he said, after climbing to 33rd on the Official World Golf Ranking.

Matteo Manassero

Danny Lee – 18 years, 213 days

At the age of 18 years and 213 days, Lee became the youngest winner and only the second amateur after 2007 Estoril Open de Portugal champion Pablo Martin to win on The European Tour.

The teenager, who had become the youngest U.S Amateur winner in August 2008, birdied his final hole for a closing five under par 67 at The Vines Resort & Country Club to finish one shot ahead of Ross McGowan, Hiroyuki Fujita and Felipe Aguilar on 17 under par.

The New Zealander had started the final round two shots behind McGowan and John Bickerton and remained in the chasing pack after three birdies and two bogeys in his first 12 holes, but quickly stormed in to contention with birdies at the 13th and 14th. He then made a big par save from 12 feet at the 16th and followed up with birdies at both 17 and 18 to win his first event.

"I was dreaming about winning but my goal was to make the cut after two rounds and to try to get into the top 20 or top ten,” Lee said afterwards.

"You know winning a European Tour event, it's pretty amazing what I've done."

The New Zealander, who was born in South Korea, turned professional shortly after. He has one other professional victory, which came at in 2015 at The Greenbrier Classic, and reached a high of 34th in the Official World Golf Rankings.

Danny Lee - 2009 Johnnie Walker Classic

Rasmus Højgaard – 18 years, 271 days

In just his fifth event on Tour, Højgaard captured his maiden tour title with an eagle on the third play-off at the 2019 AfraAsia Mauritius Bank Open.

The 18-year-old Dane had played on the Challenge Tour in 2019 but narrowly missed out on earning one of the 15 European Tour cards after finishing 21st in the Race to Majorca standings.

Not to be deterred, Højgaard went on to become the first player born in the 21st century to graduate from European Tour Qualifying School, overcoming a first round 74 to share fifth place in the standings.

His win was almost immediate, following up a tie for 49th place at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship with victory in just his second tournament of the season in Mauritius.

He stayed aggressive during a final round 68, hitting a 360 yard drive on the 18th hole and making birdie to earn a spot in a play-off with Renato Paratore and Antoine Rozner

He kept that strategy for the remainder of the play-off, going birdie-birdie before hitting his approach on the third play-off hole to just a few feet and rolling in his eagle putt for victory.

Højgaard’s victory made him the fastest Dane to win on the European Tour, beating 15 time winner and 2018 Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjørn's record of 24 events.

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