Matteo Manassero became the youngest winner in European Tour history today after triumphing by four shots at the Castello Masters in Spain.
The Italian, at 17 years and 188 days, breaks the previous record set by New Zealand’s Danny Lee, who was 18 years and 113 days old when he won the 2008 Johnnie Walker Classic.
Manassero overcame a two-shot deficit to England’s Gary Boyd over the final round, his four-under-par 67 moving him to 16 under overall and comfortably clear of Spain’s Ignacio Garrido on 12 under.
Manassero, a former British Amateur Champion whose best European Tour result before today was a third place at this year’s Omega Masters, also becomes the youngest full European Tour Member as a result of this win, eclipsing the previous record held by Seve Ballesteros by just 12 days.
Manassero was into his stride early today, sinking a 12-foot birdie putt at the third before nailing a 40-footer at the par-three sixth as the gap to Boyd closed to one shot.
The youngster dropped a shot on the seventh but he turned the screw over the back nine, three successive birdies at 13, 14 and 15 taking him clear of the pack.
“I always worked hard for this moment and now I’ve finally done it, it’s an unbelievable moment,” Manassero told Sky Sports.
“When I made that putt for par on 12 to stay two behind I kept going and I made some great shots coming in, and some good putts.
“That was the turning point as well as the birdie on 13. I was very nervous. At the beginning I was nervous and then I was a bit more relaxed and then I was very nervous again at the end.
“I couldn’t really imagine to be a winner in the first year, it was really just to keep my card, but now I’m a winner already.”
Manassero’s charge to the top of the leaderboard was aided by Boyd’s final-round capitulation, which saw the 24-year-old from Banbury string together a horror sequence of bogey, double-bogey, bogey on holes 15 through 17 as he slipped to 11 under and a tie for third place with Holland’s Joost Luiten, Peter Lawrie of Ireland and Swede Christian Nilsson.
Garrido’s surge to second place was aided by three birdies over the back nine, the Spaniard making gains at holes 13, 16 and 17 as he signed for a final-round 68.