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Manassero not challenging McIlroy just yet

ESPN staff
May 27, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
Matteo Manassero will remain on the European Tour - for now © PA Photos
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Matteo Manassero believes he still has a long way to go to match Rory McIlroy, despite picking up his fourth European Tour title at the weekend.

Manassero, barely a month past his 20th birthday, picked up the biggest title of his career to date at Wentworth on Sunday, surviving a four-hole play-off to win the European Tour's flagship event.

The Italian was immediately congratulated by McIlroy, who took to Twitter to call Manassero a "phenom". McIlroy, whose five European Tour titles include two major championships, said Manassero made him "feel old" - but the 20-year-old was quick to point out that he still has a long way to go to match the 24-year-old Northern Irishman.

"I'm happy that he wrote that tweet," Manassero said. "He is a bit older than me!

"But I'm happy that he's wrote something nice like that. You know, I've got so much respect for Rory. I have been saying this since a few years, I can say that for sure, that I think he's got the best game, the most talented player out here. He achieved so much.

"So I've got so much respect for him and I'm just happy that he tweeted something like that."

Victory at Wentworth elevated Manassero to 28th in the world rankings, and also secured his place at next month's US Open. He will now bid to win the lucrative Race to Dubai at the end of the year.

"That's a bit of a relief to be honest," Manassero said of his Merion spot. "I was dropping in the world ranking a little bit."

He added: "I'm going to finish the year as it is. I've played a few tournaments in the US, but having this win here, I feel like I should keep going till the end of the season.

"I'm going to play Sweden next week, so that says that I want to keep going on the European Tour, but I will travel to America."

World Rankings: 1. Tiger Woods (USA), 2. Rory McIlroy (NIR), 3. Adam Scott (AUS), 4. Justin Rose (ENG), 5. Brandt Snedeker (USA), 6. Luke Donald (ENG), 7. Graeme McDowell (NIR), 8. Louis Oosthuizen (RSA), 9. Matt Kuchar (USA), 10. Lee Westwood (ENG), 11. Phil Mickelson (USA), 12. Steve Stricker (USA), 13. Keegan Bradley (USA), 14. Sergio Garcia (ESP), 15. Charl Schwartzel (RSA), 16. Ian Poulter (ENG), 17. Webb Simpson (USA), 18. Bubba Watson (USA), 19. Dustin Johnson (USA), 20. Jason Dufner (USA).

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