GOLF: Manassero hails McGuigan’s influence

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ITALIAN golf sensation Matteo Manassero paid tribute to his caddy, Coleraine man Ryan McGuigan, after he clinched the Malaysian Open by one shot from Frenchman Gregory Bourdy on Sunday.

It was the perfect birthday present for Manassero, who turns 18 on Tuesday, as he followed up his maiden European Tour win at the Castello Masters last year by picking up the £255,075 winner’s cheque in Malaysia.

Speaking after his win Manassero said of Ryan: “He is more like a friend to me. It is good to have someone who I can talk and laugh with over 18 holes.

“Ryan and I get on very well together. We are a good team and we have gelled very well in such a short time.

“He’s also a really nice guy. He’s a very precise guy who wants to do things very well, so that is very important for me; he’s very much a big part of my win.”

The teenager produced a superb final round of four-under 68 to end the tournament 16-under over four days.

“It wasn’t easy. It was tough. The course is really tight and all the players were doing good and playing well.

“It’s just not easy to concentrate and stay calm. I managed quite well. Fortunately, I ended up with a win.” added Manassero.