Matteo Manassero: A Second Win & Still Seventeen

I heard more than one golf fan lamenting the absence of Matteo Manassero at the Masters last week.

After all, a year ago he'd been the youngest ever to make the cut in Augusta.  He followed that up with a win at the Castello Masters in October and became the youngest ever to win on the European Tour.
Those accomplishments weren't enough to get him into this year's Masters however.  Though he'd gotten down to 55 in the world rankings, as a professional, he needed to be in the top 50 to make the field at the season's first major.

Happily, those legions of Manassero fans needn't lament any longer. Matteo won the Maybank Malaysian Open today, and is now well within within the numbers... at 35th in the world... for the three remaining majors. He accomplished his win in style too, narrowly defeating Gregory Bourdy and Rory McIlroy, despite valiant challenges from both.

Paying tribute to Seve Ballesteros, who he described as "the kind of player I wanted to be" Matty kissed the massive, beribboned cup and went off to celebrate his 18th birthday.

April 16, 2011 - Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images AsiaPac