Italy’s Matteo Manassero prevailed in a gripping sudden-death playoff when he eagled the third play-off hole to pip South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen to the Singapore Open in 2012, when the tournament was last played.
Oosthuizen, the 2010 British Open champion, was dealt a cruel blow after his birdie putt miss from five feet at the second play-off hole levelled proceedings and he had to extend the contest to the third play-off hole where he eventually lost to the young Italian.
Manassero, who had led by as many as three shots at one stage, closed with a two-under-par 69 and tied Oosthuizen with his four-day total of 13-under-par 271 before taking the Singapore Open to a playoff showdown.
Matteo Manaserro and Oosthuizen both birdied their first play-off hole on the par-five 18th and parred the second. But it was the 19-year-old Italian who drained a 10-foot eagle putt for his third career win.
“I guess everyone thought Louis Oosthuizen is going to win and I don’t have any chance but he missed that putt. I think I was really fortunate as I got another chance on the third play-off hole. This is the first playoff in my career and definitely a great one,” said Matteo Manaserro.
“The week has been really frustrating and I’m sure it was the same case for all golfers. The break that I had between round three and four was only 27 minutes! It was really tiring for me as I played almost 32 holes today. I was not feeling that great. I felt really flat with no energy left. I guess the adrenaline kept me going throughout the day. There were some points in time that I was so tired and could hardly stay focused,” added the Italian.
Oosthuizen, meanwhile was only left to feel that it was luck that eluded him on the day that mattered most.
“I putted like anyone who would have putted for a win. I was putting beautifully today but the ball just didn’t go in. I could not have putted any better. It’s been a story for the last four weeks,” said the Major winner as he reflected on his costly putt on the second play-off hole.
Crowd puller Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland posted his week’s best score of 65 but left it too late to seal his win and had to settle for third place while second round leader Thomas Bjorn closed with a 68 to take fourth place.
Thailand’s Chapchai Nirat emerged as the best placed Asian when he signed for a 69 to take tied-seventh with Denmark’s Anders Hansen and England’s Chris Wood on 277 while Asian Tour honorary member Y.E. Yang is a shot back in tied-10th.
McIlroy made a late charge up the leaderboard when he birdied holes five, seven, 13 and 15. But it was his eagle-three on the closing 18th that provided the loudest roar from the huge crowd that have been following him faithfully for the last four days.
“I played well all week I just did not convert the birdie chances that I gave myself. I missed a lot of putts the last four days and if I had holed a few more maybe it would have been a different story,” said the world number one.
Although I came up a little bit short, I’m happy with how I played today and it is still a very good finish,” added McIlroy, who won the European Tour’s Race to Dubai with his third place finish.
Chapchai returned in the morning to complete his remaining 14 holes after fading light on Saturday brought a halt to his charge where he was at six-under through four holes.
Despite having to endure an energy-sapping week where tropic storms had created havoc on his playing schedules, Chapchai resumed his fourth round where he marked his card with four birdies against a two bogeys.
“I think the key for me this week was my putting. I’ve been working on improving it and it paid off,” said Chapchai.
“It has been a long week and I’m looking forward to a good rest now,” added the three-time Asian Tour winner.