Golf

Louis to shrug off heartache?

2012-04-10 20:17
Louis Oosthuizen (AP)

Kuala Lumpur -Teen champion Matteo Manassero on Tuesday backed Louis Oosthuizen to shrug off his Masters heartache at the Malaysian Open - but warned victory would be "nearly impossible" for the South African.

Manassero, who claimed his second European Tour win in Kuala Lumpur last year, said the unflappable Oosthuizen would not be fazed by Sunday's near-miss at Augusta, when he lost a dramatic playoff with Bubba Watson.

"I think he'll respond really well. He's played fantastically during the Masters, but what can you do? Bubba's done really well as well," said the 18-year-old Italian.

"If you get into a playoff, it's the Masters and anything can happen. It didn't go his way but he's already won a major and it gives you even more confidence that you can still win another one.

"Especially at the Masters, if you have an opportunity like that it will always stay in your mind all your life. But... he's a very relaxed guy, he doesn't look as if he's taken it that badly."

Last year, Manassero beat a high-quality but jet-lagged field in Malaysia including freshly crowned Masters champion Charl Schwartzel and Rory McIlroy, who threw away a four-shot lead in the last round.

And he warned that Oosthuizen's trans-global flight across 13 time zones from Augusta to Kuala Lumpur, coupled with Malaysia's notorious tropical heat and humidity, meant the odds were stacked high against the 2010 Open winner.

Oosthuizen holed an albatross from 253 yards in the Masters' last round and saw his putt for victory on the first playoff hole skim the cup. Watson pulled off a tournament-winning pitch shot from the trees on the second extra hole.

"If you come in a week like this being tired, it's nearly impossible. It's very difficult," Manassero said.

"Rory did it last year after what happened to him last year in the Masters and it was amazing he was able to compete - you've got to be very, very fit.

"But I think I couldn't have competed this week after being at the Masters because it would have been so difficult to just carry on for four days in this weather."

Manassero is sizing up another challenging field in the $2.5 million event at Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club including five major-winners in Oosthuizen, Schwartzel, Martin Kaymer, Michael Campbell and Todd Hamilton.

And the world No 64 is not even daring to hope for a spot at this year's Ryder Cup, calling it a "dream" - despite needing only one victory to charge into contention.

"It's probably the most competitive team there's ever been - so many guys that have won, or won twice, and they're struggling to get in. It's going to be so difficult, there are not many spots," he said.

"It's going to be very, very difficult because so many guys have won lately... but we'll see. You probably just need two great weeks to get in. But it's not really my goal, it's just a dream."

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