VIRGINIA WATER, England (AP) – Italy's Matteo Manassero became the youngest champion in the 58-year history of the BMW PGA Championship on Sunday, beating England's Simon Khan with a birdie on the fourth hole of a playoff.
Manassero, at 20 years, 37 days, made amends for letting victory slip away two years ago at Wentworth. The previous youngest winner was Scotland's Bernhard Gallacher in 1969 at 20 years, 97 days. With the victory, his fourth European Tour title, Manassero qualified for the U.S. Open next month and avoided a 36-hole qualifier Monday at Walton Heath.
“I'm feeling amazing about this win. I also feel really proud and honored to have won the flagship event,'' he said. “I feel extremely happy. Extremely happy because this place has always had a real special feeling to me and I was in contention in 2011, (but) couldn't do it. That was Luke's (Donald) time, but I'm so proud to win this year.''
Manassero closed with a 3-under 69 to match Khan and Scotland's Marc Warren at 10-under 278. Khan finished with a 66. Warren, eliminated on the first extra hole, shot a 69. Manassero and Khan each birdied the first three extra holes.
Manassero became the youngest winner on tour at 17 years, 188 days in the 2010 Castellon Masters in Spain. He added a second title five months later in the 2011 Malaysian Open, and won the Singapore Open last November.
He joined Costantino Rocca (1996) as the only Italian winners in the event and earned $1,012,928.
“I now have to be obviously looking at the next Ryder Cup and I really want to be there, and that's all I can say,'' Manassero said. “I can certainly say to you that I feel good in match play because I've done well at the Accenture Match Play Championship, and I've played a lot of match play as an amateur.''
Meanwhile, Sergio Garcia said he will meet with Tiger Woods before the June 13 start of the U.S. Open at Merion to apologize in person for his offensive comment directed at the 14-time major champion.
“I've talked with Tiger's manager and asked him if he wanted us to call Tiger,'' said Garcia, who tied for 19th. “Obviously, if he gives us the number or wait for Merion and do it there face to face. But they said they would rather do it there. So, you know, there's nothing else we can do, so we'll wait until we get there and we'll talk. It's been a long week and, well, I wasn't really on my best game today. And there have been a lot of emotions going on, and today I kind of felt it a little bit.''