Virginia Water - Italy's Matteo Manassero rewrote the history books when he became the
youngest ever winner of the European PGA Championship at Wentworth on
Manassero won a sudden death play-off against England's
Simon Khan and Scotland's Marc Warren after the trio had finished level
on 278, ten-under par.
Warren exited on the first extra hole and
Manassero needed three more holes to shake off the challenge of Khan,
the winner here in 2010 which he finally did with a birdie on the par-5,
18th which was played four times.
Aged 20 years and 37 days,
Manassero beat Bernard Gallacher's record as the youngest victor in the
European Tour's flagship event.
Gallacher was 20 years and 97 days old when he won in 1969.
was Manassero's first tour win since the 2012 Singapore Open and this
was the first three-man play-off in the event since 1976.
ball was unplayable in the trees to the right of the par-5 18th, the
first extra hole, and the Scot was out of contention when his fourth
shot ended up in the water beyond the green.
Khan and Manassero
both made birdie fours and headed back to the 18th tee from where they
both made pars before making birdies, both from bunkers, at the third
time of asking.
But Khan's second shot on the fourth playoff hole
landed in the creek in front of the green and Manassero's two-putt
birdie gave him the biggest win of his career.
Khan had not
played on tour for eight weeks because his wife has been unwell but he
made light of his lack of golf to shoot a bogey-free 66, the best score
of the day to post a total of 278 ten-under par for the rest of the
field to shoot at.
Manassero and Warren both had chances to win it
in regulation play but missed putts of about 20 feet on the 18th to
send them into extra holes along with Khan who had come from off the
pace with a 66.
Khan was five shots off the lead at the start of
play and his last day performance almost mirrored his efforts in 2010
when he came from seven back to land the title.
rookie Eddie Pepperell had an impressive first appearance here finishing
on eight-under par for a share of sixth place.
The 22-year old was eighth in the Spanish Open last month and admitted his first year on tour had exceeded all his expectations.
Lee Westwood who was two clear after four holes of the final round and
seemingly in charge of the tournament collapsed on the back nine as
dropped four shots from the 11th to the 14th and his 20th attempt to
land this championship was doomed from there on in.
He finished on
seven-under par after a 73 and in a tie for ninth place whilst the
overnight leader Alejandro Canizares had a chance to get into the
play-off if he eagled the last hole but his 25 foot putt was too high
and he had to settle for a share of fourth spot with Miguel Angel
Jimenez finished with a flourish eagling the last and
Ernie Els jumped up the board with a final round 67 to finish on
eight-under level with Pepperell and South Africa's James Kingston
who saved his best for last said: "I actually started playing a little
bit better yesterday late afternoon, but found something in my swing and
my putting and so forth, so it was nice to finally start playing some
Sergio Garcia who was at the centre of the racism
row that overshadowed the build-up to the tournament could not get going
and finished where he started on five-under par.