CASTELLON, Spain – Matteo Manassero shot a 4-under 67 in the final round to win the Castello Masters and claim a place in the history of the European Tour Golf.
At 17 years and 188 days old the Italian teenager is the youngest player to win on the European Tour, beating the record held by Danny Lee of New Zealand, who was 18 years and 113 days old when he won the Johnnie Walker Championship in 2008.
It is the second record of Manassero’s short career after he also became the youngest winner – at 16 – of the British Amateur Championship in 2009.
And after winning $460,000, Manassero was at a loss to find a way to celebrate his victory.
“I am too young to have a drink, I am too young to drive so I will not be buying a car and I have not got a girlfriend who would like a present,” he said.
“But this was my first chance to win a tournament, which I never thought would come so quickly and to do it is unbelievable. My first aim when I turned professional was to win enough money to keep my card for next year and I achieved that in September.”
Manassero started the final round at the Club de Campo Del Mediterraneo two shots behind overnight leader Gary Boyd of England. But at 16 under he eventually won by four shots from Spain’s Ignacio Garrido who shot a 68 to reach 12 under.
Boyd collapsed in the final round with three poor drives starting on the 15th hole which led to him dropping four late shots and after a 74 he slipped back into a share of third place.
Joost Luiten (68) of the Netherlands and Ireland’s Peter Lawrie (70) also finished with a share of third place at 11 under.
Jose Maria Olazabal’s attempt to overcome his chronic rheumatoid arthritis and play four rounds for the first time in 2010 was successful but proved to have a disappointing ending.
He had a series of bogeys in the final round and after handing in a 77 to the official recorder was disqualified for signing for a wrong score. It should have been 78.
“I feel happy to have played four rounds for the first time of the year,” said Olazabal, who is favored to be Europe’s next Ryder Cup captain. “The only pain is the way that I played today and what happened afterwards.”