Manassero tops Oosthuizen in playoff

By Associated PressNovember 11, 2012, 12:15 pm

SINGAPORE – After already playing 33 holes at the Singapore Open on Sunday, the last thing Matteo Manassero probably wanted was to go back on the course for a playoff hole.

Or two playoff holes. Or three.

The 19-year-old Manassero persevered and holed a 12-foot eagle putt to beat Louis Oosthuizen on the third playoff hole to capture his third European Tour title and by far his biggest paycheck: $1 million.

In another money matter, Rory McIlroy finished in third place at 10 under, guaranteeing he will win the European money title this year. He becomes the second golfer after Luke Donald last year to win both the U.S. PGA Tour and European money titles in the same season.

''Winning a second major championship already made it a fabulous season, but then to follow Luke Donald in becoming No. 1 in both Europe and the States is the icing on the cake after a fabulous season,'' he said.

It was a very long day on the course for both Manassero and Oosthuizen, the 2010 British Open champion. Tropical downpours on the first two days of the event had created a backlog in the schedule, forcing all the golfers to finish their second rounds Saturday afternoon and then rush back out to start the third as the sun was going down.

Manassero only finished three holes in his third round Saturday, meaning he had to return early Sunday morning to play 15 holes, then after a brief 27-minute rest, start his final round. Oosthuizen played 13 holes to finish his third round in the morning.

''It's been a very tiring week,'' Manassero said. ''On 13, I was not feeling that great. I was really flat, no more energy left but the adrenaline throughout the day kept me going.''

Oosthuizen and Manassero both finished at 13-under 271 in regulation. The South African had seven birdies and three bogeys to card a 67 in the final round, while Manassero, the third-round leader by two strokes, had three birdies in a round of 69.

Oosthuizen, who also lost a heart-breaking playoff this year to Bubba Watson at The Masters, barely missed a 4-foot putt for the title on the second playoff hole, covering his mouth in disbelief and muttering to himself after it lipped out.

McIlroy finally found the consistency that's been missing this week with four birdies and a 30-foot eagle putt on the 18th hole to shoot a final-round 65.

''I set myself a target today to finish on 10 under, get myself into double digits under par,'' the Northern Irishman said. ''Obviously it was great to finish with an eagle on the last but I was not thinking of anything else other than hit a good putt.''

Denmark's Thomas Bjorn, the second-round leader, had five bogeys in the third round in a disappointing start to the day, but shot a 68 in the final round to finish fourth at 8 under. Three-time Singapore champion Adam Scott was one stroke back in equal fifth with Italy's Francesco Molinari.

Phil Mickelson, who barely made the cut on Saturday, had four birdies in a bogey-free round of 67, finishing in a tie for 14th place at 5 under.

Much has been expected from Manassero following the records he set when he burst on the scene several years ago: youngest British Amateur winner (16 years old), youngest golfer to play in the Masters and make the cut (16), youngest European Tour winner (17).

Still a teenager, Manassero acknowledged that it's been somewhat tougher in his third year as a pro. He hasn't been back to the Masters since his debut and he failed to qualify for this year's British Open. His last title had come last April at the Malaysian Open.

''It's been very frustrating at times,'' he said. ''I had to be more clear in my mind thinking that I started my career really well, but it's very early. I've got many years. This is the time in which I really need to step my game up, make technical changes and adjusting myself.

''I didn't have some great results for something like a year, a little ups and downs. Obviously, it was frustrating.''

Both he and Oosthuizen had a number of chances to put distance between one another in the final round.

Down three strokes on the front nine, Oosthuizen put pressure on Manassero with three straight birdies on the 9th, 10th and 11th holes to pull even at 13 under. But he then gave two strokes right back by bogeying his next two holes.

The Italian, meanwhile, was steady, if not spectacular. He made par on 10 straight holes before finally slipping up on the 15th, where he hit his approach shot well short and two-putted for bogey. He also barely missed a 25-footer for birdie on No. 17.

This time, Oosthuizen was able to capitalize. He perfectly placed his approach on the 18th within two feet of the pin and sank the birdie putt, taking his first outright lead of the day.

Manassero responded, however, by hitting a big drive off the tee on the 18th and then getting close enough with a 60-foot putt to make birdie himself to force the playoff.

Both players birdied the first playoff hole on the 18th before Oosthuizen blew his 4-foot putt on the second hole.

Oosthuizen was playing for more than just his third title of the year – he was one of the few golfers who could still theoretically catch McIlroy in the European Tour money chase. But since the South African didn't win the title, McIlroy's third-place finish was enough to seal the title heading to the Dubai World Championship.

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What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

The Ryder Cup topped his list.

Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”



McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

More bulletin board material, too.

Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

“I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.