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Manassero becomes youngest PGA Championship winner

updated 4:26 PM EDT, Sun May 26, 2013
Italy's Matteo Manassero was all smiles after winning the PGA Championship in a playoff.
Italy's Matteo Manassero was all smiles after winning the PGA Championship in a playoff.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Italy's Matteo Manassero, at 20, becomes the youngest winner of the PGA Championship
  • Manassero beats Simon Khan and Marc Warren in a playoff at Wentworth
  • Ryder Cup stalwart Lee Westwood struggles on back nine and falls out of contention

(CNN) -- Italy's Matteo Manassero became the youngest ever winner at the PGA Championship.

He had to work hard for it.

Manassero edged England's Simon Khan on the fourth extra hole of a playoff after Scotland's Marc Warren exited on the first extra hole. The trio had finished at 10-under 278.

Khan found the water with his second shot on the deciding hole in fading light at Wentworth, and when Manassero struck a birdie to clinch victory, he surpassed Bernard Gallacher as the youngest champion.

At 20 years and 37 days, Manassero was two months younger than Gallacher when the Scot triumphed in 1969.

As a result of winning the European Tour's flagship event, he'll move from No. 57 to inside the top 30 in the world rankings, leads the Race to Dubai and booked a spot at this year's U.S. Open.

"I feel unbelievable, really emotional," Manassero was quoted as saying by the European Tour's Web site. "It's been an amazing week. I have always felt something really special about this place and this tournament.

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"Everything has come together this week. I managed to play well and managed to stay in contention after a tough day on Friday and pulled it off with this playoff."

The dramatic finish at Wentworth helped make up for the early departures of Rory McIlroy, the world's second ranked golfer, and defending champion Luke Donald.

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Both missed the cut after underwhelming in the opening two rounds -- played in chilly conditions.

The fans at Wentworth couldn't lift Ryder Cup stalwart Lee Westwood to victory, either. He was only a shot behind overnight leader Alejandro Canizares.

Westwood, who recently moved his family from England to Florida, led at one stage on the front nine but was undone by a double bogey and two bogeys on the back nine. He finished the fourth round at one-over 73.

He was bidding to better two runner-up finishes at Wentworth.

"Obviously Lee had the most support at the beginning, but I had so much -- the crowd in general this week has been unbelievable, really," Manassero added. "I think the weekend that they got to see was a reward for the people that were here Friday with that weather to watch."

Manassero and Warren had chances to win the title before the playoff but faltered. Khan, five shots off the pace going into the final round, made a charge with a 66.

When Khan won the PGA Championship in 2010, he rallied from a seven shot deficit in the final round with another 66.

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He was playing his first event since March due to his wife's illness, the European Tour's Web site reported.

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"I wanted to prove to myself I've got it in me and that's been the great thing today," Khan was quoted as saying. "I've played great. After such a long layoff, to come back and lose in a playoff of this fantastic tournament, I can take a lot out of it definitely.

"I felt great going into the playoff. It's just a shame that second shot (on the fourth extra hole) didn't carry another couple of yards or I would probably be going back out to 18 again."

Canizares and Miguel Angel Jimenez, the oldest man in the tournament at 49, finished a shot off the pace.

British Open champion Ernie Els tied for sixth following a final round 67, while Sergio Garcia, under fire last week for "fried chicken" jibe, ended up tied for 19th.

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