McIlroy nabs European title as Manassero helps him out by beating Oosthuizen
12:58 GMT, 11 November 2012
A 30-foot eagle putt on the final green at the Barclays Singapore Open made Rory McIlroy the European Tour's youngest money list winner since Sandy Lyle in 1980.
But it was only when 19-year-old Italian Matteo Manassero also eagled the same hole more than two hours later that McIlroy could crack open the champagne again.
Already with the PGA Tour title in the bag, the 23-year-old world number one emulated the double achieved by Luke Donald last season when Manassero beat South African Louis Oosthuizen with a 12-foot putt at the third play-off hole.
That's the ticket: Rory McIlroy finished third in Singapore
Click here for the final standings
If Oosthuizen had won he could still
have caught McIlroy, but instead Manassero became the first player to
win three times on the circuit before the age of 20. Not even Seve
Ballesteros managed that.
McIlroy, watched during the week by
girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki, stormed through to third place with a
closing six-under-par 65.
'I left myself a little bit too much
to do to win, but it was a great way to finish off the round and the
tournament,' said the Northern Irish star, who still has his defence of
the Hong Kong Open and the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai to come
this next fortnight.
The race would still have been alive
if either Peter Hanson or Oosthuizen had played in Hong Kong or at this
week's South African Open, but they have not entered.
On clinching the money list double McIlroy said: “It really is hugely satisfying to finally become the European number one, especially after finishing second two of the last three years.
Helping hand: Matteo Manassero of Italy with the winners trophy after winning in a three hole playoff with Louis Oosthuizen
Race to Dubai money list standings
1 Rory McIlroy 2,966,985
2 Peter Hanson 2,120,959
3 Justin Rose 2,059,798
4 Louis Oosthuizen 2,044,184
5 Ian Poulter 1,822,644
6 Branden Grace 1,671,036
7 Francesco Molinari 1,630,171
8 Luke Donald 1,475,622
9 Graeme McDowell 1,462,726
10 Paul Lawrie 1,425,216
11 Nicolas Colsaerts 1,363,063,
12 Lee Westwood 1,317,982
13 Matteo Manassero 1,198,873
14 Marcel Siem 1,070,584
15 Thorbjorn Olesen 995,685
16 David Lynn 952,025
17 Rafa Cabrera Bello 939,767
18 Bernd Wiesberger 822,449
19 Jamie Donaldson 815,188
20 Alex Noren 805,292.
'It has always been one of my goals
ever since securing my Tour card five years ago, but then to also end
the year as both European and PGA Tour number one is just amazing.
'I feel so proud and humbled to join so many fabulous names in Europe who have won the Order of Merit.
'To be able to accomplish this goal
with still two events remaining means that I can head to my UBS Hong
Kong Open defence and the DP World Championship Dubai without that added
pressure and just really enjoy my golf.
'Winning a second major championship
(the USPGA in August by eight shots just like his US Open triumph last
season) already made it a fabulous season, but then to follow Luke
Donald in becoming number one in both Europe and the States is the icing
on the cake after a fabulous season.
'I set myself a number of ambitious goals at the start of the year, and to have ticked so many of the boxes feels great.
'A lot of hard work went into this
and I am really proud of what I've achieved in 2012. I would like to
give special thanks to the team around me for all the support they have
given me throughout the year.
'I've still got two events remaining
this year and the goal is still to try and win at least once more before
the end of the year. Beyond that I'm looking forward to a good break
over the winter!
Taking a swing: Oosthuizen of South Africa takes a shot during round three
'I've got a healthy lead in the world
rankings, but with so many very good players on both sides of the
Atlantic it will not be a time to be resting on my laurels. My goal is
to push on in the new year.
'Monty (Colin Montgomerie) won eight Order of Merits in his prime and I have won one, so there is plenty of ground to make up.
'Also Jack Nicklaus won 18 Majors and
I now have my name on two, so targeting the majors will still be my
main focus next season.'
Manassero, just 17 when he became the
Tour's youngest-ever winner in Spain two years ago, had slipped from
29th in the world to 85th and said: 'This year has been a little tough
for me and I'm glad this came.
'I'm going through a few swing
changes and have picked up length. The driver is the most important
thing – I changed it this week and it gave me a few extra yards.
Strolling: McIlroy walks with Gregory Bourdy of France (right)
'It's been an extremely long day, but
the adrenalin kept me going and the key, I think, was starting really
well with a few birdies this morning.'
The Verona youngster made four in a
row from the third hole in a third round that resumed at 7.30am and
after posting a 64 for a two-stroke lead he grabbed two more birdies
early in the final round.
They dried up after that, however,
and Oosthuizen caught him with three in a row around the turn, only to
bogey the 12th and 13th.
A chip-in for a two on the 201-yard
next increased the pressure again, however, and Manassero bogeyed the
15th after driving into rough.
When Oosthuizen pitched to a foot on
the last for a 67 he went ahead again, but Manassero's two-putt birdie
gave him a 69 and forced sudden death on 13 under par.
Both birdied the 18th again, then
parred it with Oosthuizen lipping out from under five feet and after
returning to the tee again – they actually played the 542-yard hole five
times during the day – it was Manassero who came up with the decisive
stroke to claim the first prize of over 618,000.
He has earned over 2.5million in his career already – and will not be 20 until next April.