Matteo Manassero: 'It’s a nice birthday present for me. It was an adventurous round.'
KUALA LUMPUR: Italian golfer Matteo Manassero gave himself a 21st birthday present by carding a five-under 67 for a shot at another top 10 finish in the Maybank Malaysian Open.
Manassero, whose birthday was on Saturday, had seven birdies against two bogeys. He is hopeful that a good showing here will help banish his US Masters disappointment at Augusta last week, where he failed to make the cut.
The European Tour’s youngest winner has many followers here, thanks to his stunning win at the 2011 Malaysian Open.
Manassero held off a field containing the then world number one Martin Kaymer of Germany and Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland that year to emerge as the youngest winner in Malaysian Open history.
With four titles to his name, Manassero, who found it hard to stay focused in the scorching heat, had a 71 and 72 on his scorecard for the first two days and is currently on six-under 210.
“It’s a nice birthday present for me. It was an adventurous round – it’s actually the worst golf I played this week but I managed to score well and I missed only a few chances for birdie and made some really good pars.
“I need to get the game back in really good shape for tomorrow if I am going to back this round up, but obviously I’m really happy to score five-under today,” said Manassero, who has nothing but pleasant memories of the Malaysian Open.
“I’ve come here every year since the win, and I always enjoyed it. I look back at that year, at the final round, and nothing has changed.
”When you win an event, it’s nice to come back to it every year.”
As for celebrating, Manassero planned to have dinner with his girlfriend but the focus, for the moment, is on the tournament.