Manassero helps McIlroy to Euro Tour title
Updated: Sunday, 11 Nov 2012 21:09
A 30-foot eagle putt on the final green at the Barclays Singapore Open today 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.
That was acheived when Manassero beat South African Louis Oosthuizen with a 12-foot putt at the third play-off hole.
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.
It's been nice that year-after-year my results have improved and I would like to keep that going" - Rory McIlroy
"I played well all week but just didn't convert the birdie chances I gave myself," said the Northern Irishman, who was cheered on all week by tennis-playing girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki.
"I missed a lot of putts over the last four days. If I had holed a few more it would have been a different story. I am very happy how I played today and how I finished.
"The money list has been cheapened a little bit by not having the leading players at events towards the end of the year," he added.
"It's still an award for consistency and you need to play well throughout the year in all the tournaments you attend.
"I am going to end up playing 13 or 14 events on the European Tour this year. That's obviously a lot less than a lot of other people but I have played in the bigger tournaments with the higher prize funds, which has allowed me to get to the top."
McIlroy will defend his Hong Kong Open title next week and while he goes there on the back of a second and a third in his last two events, he is still hopeful of picking up another victory before closing out his 2012 campaign.
"Finishing in the top two or three isn't too bad but I said I wanted to win at least once more before the end of the season and I still have two more tournaments in which to do that."
Following the season-ending Dubai World Championships McIlroy will take a break and that start looking at how he can make himself a better player in 2013.
"I will keep working on different aspects of the game to improve next year,' he added. "I feel I have got a lot more comfortable at hitting left to right which has made a huge difference to right-hand pin positions.
"It's been nice that year-after-year my results have improved and I would like to keep that going and like to feel I am a better golfer next year than I was this year.
"I have got more shots, am more experienced and more consistent."