Manassero keeps hopes alive

2012-03-24 16:28

Johannesburg - Teen sensation Matteo Manassero was within six shots of the lead on Saturday at the weather-affected Hassan II Trophy tournament in Morocco that he must win to qualify for the year's first major at Augusta early next month.

World number 61 Manassero, 18 who is already a twice European Tour winner, fired three birdies and a bogey in his last five holes for a two-under-par 70 and a 36-hole five-under total of 139, behind leader Damien McGrane of Ireland (133).

Play was suspended for almost six hours on Friday due to high winds and more than half the field resumed their second rounds early on Saturday, Briton Robert Rock (145) was among those to miss the cut which ruled out his chances of a Masters debut.

Rock, the world number 57 who also needed a win to be assured of a place in the field at the Augusta National, was left to curse a costly 11 on the par-four 4th hole during his first round on Thursday.

The top 50 ranked players in the world before the April 5-8 Masters are guaranteed entry, where as an amateur in 2010 aged 16 Italy's Manassero proved a hit with teenage girls when he became the youngest player to make the cut.