World No. 2 Rory McIlroy was among the first to congratulate history-making Matteo Manassero after becoming the youngest-ever winner of the BMW PGA Championship.
Manassero, at 20 years and 37 days, became the youngest-ever Wentworth winner in defeating England’s and 2010 champion, Simon Khan with a par at the fourth extra play-off hole.
Manassero (69), Khan (66) and Scotland’s Marc Warren (69) had ended regulation play tied at 10-under par but with Warren bowing out at the first extra hole.
Among the first to congratulate the 20-year old was World No. 2 Rory McIlroy who tweeted: “Massive congrats Matteo. It makes me feel like and old man # Phenom.
Manassero, who also became the youngest-ever winner on Tour in winning the 2010 Castellon Masters, responded: “I’m happy he wrote that tweet. He is a bit older than me, I guess (smiling). But I am happy he wrote something and something nice like that.
“I have so much respect for Rory and I have been saying this for a few years now but he has the best game, and the most talented player out here and he achieves so much and I am just happy he tweeted something nice.”
But while Manassero, again wearing green pants on a Sunday in honour of idol Seve Ballesteros, Ireland’s Shane Lowry heads to today’s (MON) 36-hole US Open qualifier bitterly disappointed not to have automatically qualified for next month’s championship at Merion.
Lowry needed to finish top-three in the flagship event to be assured of contesting the season’s second Major for a first time in his career but was forced to settle for a share of 12th place on six under par.
Lowry had played superbly over the wet and miserable first two days with scores of 71 and 72 and went into the final day just three behind.
However the reigning Portugal Masters champion stalled to be one over par through eight holes before the first on just four birdies in his round at the ninth before also birding 11 and 12.
But it all came undone at the par five 17th when he sent his tee shot out-of-bounds to walk off with a double bogey before a little delight when he birdied the last.
“I’m very disappointed as I hung in there all day but that bad tee shot at 17 cost me a good few spots but then that’s golf,” he said.
“The thing is I had all of England to the right of 17 and I didn’t come here this week to finish 12th as I came here to contend.
“I said to Dermot (Byrne – caddy) coming up the last that when we stood on 10 today and we knew we still had a good chance of winning the BMW PGA , if we put in a good back nine.
“But all in all it was a good week and it’s been good to be in contention for a few holes there on the back nine.”
Lowry will join Gareth Maybin and Peter Lawrie today (MON) at Walton Heath in a field of 96 and with the top-10 advancing to compete at Merion.
And Lowry is no stranger to Walton Heath having been three on three prior occasions and winning through just once in 2011 to the US Open.
“I was thinking about Walton Heath when I went out there today, hoping to put in a good finish, and even after I birdied 13 I was right there with a chance so I now have to go and play 36 holes,” he said.
“I will go back and chill out this evening, get a good dinner in and get up early in the morning and get myself up for playing those 36 holes.”
And whether or not he’s successful, Lowry is booked on an 8pm flight to the States and this week’s Memorial in Dublin, Ohio.
“It would be a great feeling going to the Memorial knowing I am also into the US Open but we’ll just to wait and see what happens.
“I’m definitely playing well enough to go out and perform. If I can just keep my head on, keep my head in the right place tomorrow, I feel like I’ll qualify.”
In contrast to Lowry, Darren Clarke eagled Wentworth’s penultimate hole in a score of 69 for a share of 32nd place on three under par.
The Tour’s flagship event got off to a sour start with accusations of racism but then suffered another body blow when McIlroy joined four of his victorious Ryder Cup colleagues in missing the cut.