by Jeff Skinner
The revolution continues. Matteo Manassero continued the “Revolution of Youth” in golf as he won his second European tour event at The Maybank Malaysian Open. From EuropeanTour.com:
Matteo Manassero earned himself a €288,465 birthday present with his second European Tour win at the Maybank Malaysian Open.
The Italian, who turns 18 on Tuesday, started the celebrations early as a closing 68 helped him finish 16 under and see off challenges from Grégory Bourdy and Rory McIlroy.
Having become The European Tour’s youngest ever winner in Spain last year, Manassero now holds the top two positions on that list – Danny Lee was seven months older when he won the Johnnie Walker Classic.
The leaders had 27 holes to play on the final day after six hours of weather delays earlier in the week, with McIlroy immediately extending his two shot overnight advantage to three with a birdie at the par five tenth.
Manassero, on the other hand, birdied both par threes on the back nine for a 67 that left him 12 under with a round to go alongside Noren – who had driven the green at the par four 16th and eagled.
Bourdy produced his second electric start of the weekend when the final round teed off – having birdied five of the first six in his third round he reeled off four in a row from the third.
A dropped shot at the eighth and a double bogey three holes later looked to have cost the Frenchman, but the three-time European Tour winner posted three birdies on the way in to set the clubhouse target at 15 under.
McIlroy was right in contention with three birdies in four holes around the turn, but three-putted the 12th for a double bogey which looked to have ended his chances.
Manassero had one birdie courtesy of a drawn approach to six feet at the second in an outward 35, but when he holed his approach to the par five tenth for eagle he was level with Bourdy.
An eight foot birdie putt at the next put him ahead, but he missed a six footer for par at the next.
He coolly converted a downhill ten footer at the 14th that left him needing to par the last four, and the former British Amateur Champion belied his tender years as he calmly set about the job without any drama.
McIlroy briefly threatened to mount a storming comeback, holing from eight feet for birdie at the 16th and then hitting a stunning approach to within three feet at the next as he closed the gap to one.
Needing a birdie at the par five last he was on the green in three but his birdie putt never threatened the cup and by three-putting he finished third behind Bourdy.