SINGAPORE — Matteo Manassero eagled the third playoff hole on Sunday to defeat Louis Oosthuizen and capture the Singapore Open title.
The 19-year-old Manassero, who secured his third European Tour victory, birdied No. 18 in the final round to finish tied with Oosthuizen at 13-under- par 271 and force a playoff at the Serapong Course at Sentosa Golf Club.
After both players birdied the first playoff hole, Oosthuizen had a chance to seal the win on the second, but he lipped out a 6-foot birdie putt and the pair headed back to the 18th tee for a third crack at it.
Sitting about even on the fairway, both golfers sent their second shot onto a hill on the back of the green. For both, the ball rolled off the hill and onto the green, with Manassero's stopping about 12 feet from the hole, while Oosthuizen's remained a considerable distance away.
Oosthuizen, who was seeking his third European Tour win of the season, was off on his long eagle attempt, and Manassero took advantage, draining his putt with authority to lock up the victory.
"It was just a great honor to play with Louis (in the playoff)," Manassero said during the trophy presentation. "It was the first playoff of my career. It's just been amazing really."
World No. 1 and Race to Dubai leader Rory McIlroy carded his low round of the tournament on Sunday (65) to claim third place at 10-under. Overnight leader Thomas Bjorn finished one stroke back in fourth place, while three-time Singapore Open winner Adam Scott and Francesco Molinari tied for fifth at 8- under.
Four-time major winner Phil Mickelson saved his best round for last, carding a 67 on Sunday to finish tied for 14th at 5-under.
Inclement weather delayed play on each of the first two days of this event, but acceptable conditions persisted through Saturday and Sunday, allowing the event to conclude without a reduction in holes.
The suspended third round wrapped up on Sunday with Manassero overtaking Bjorn. The young Italian opened on the fourth hole and reeled off four straight birdies en route to a 64 and a 2-stroke lead over Oosthuizen (65) entering the final round.
Oosthuizen didn't manage to pull even until he was on the 17th hole, when a par, coupled with Manassero's bogey on the 15th, knotted the pair at 12-under.
Riding the momentum, Oosthuizen sent his approach on No. 18 over a bunker and within few feet of the hole, then tapped in for birdie to go in front.
Manassero handled the pressure aptly, parring No. 17 before playing the par-5 last in four efficient shots, ending with a tap-in to force the first playoff of his career.
"It's been an extremely long day," continued Manassero. "The adrenaline kept me going. I think the key was starting really well this morning. I started with some birdies in a row which was very good; gave me a lot of adrenaline to go forward."
NOTES: Manassero won the Malaysian Open last year and the Castello Masters in 2010 ... Oosthuizen entered the tournament 10th in the world rankings and sixth in the Race to Dubai standings ... Scott won this tournament in 2005, 2006 and 2010 ... McIlroy has finished in the top 10 in seven of his last eight events, including three wins ... Mickelson finished tied for second last week at the WGC-HSBC Champions.