In so many ways, it “was a perfect round,” said Matteo Manassero.
And then, it wasn’t.
“A pity,” Manassero said of his stumble to the finish in Round 2 of the 95th PGA Championship. The fact that the slightest of distances contributed to the heartache made it even more painful.
Manassero, who was 4 under on his round at the time, split the fairway at the 16th, but his 5-iron approach came up just short – and just under the lip of a bunker. What’s more, it was plugged.
“It was almost unplayable,” Manassero said, though he showed off his all-world short game on his next play. “Smashed it to about 12 feet.”
Things went from bad to worse when Manassero, after leaving his par-save attempt a foot shy, started to tap it in.
“The green was very wet and (the ball) must have been in a footprint. I didn’t see it, but after I addressed the ball, it moved. Clearly, it moved a lot.”
Manassero called the penalty, re-marked the ball, and tapped in for a painful double-bogey.
Still, the 20-year-old Italian lamented not just that misfortune on the 16th green, but his inability finish his rounds. Playing beautifully in Round 1, he played his final five holes in 4 over and shot 2-over 72. Back on top of things in Round 2, he played 16 and 17 in 3 over to settle for 69.
Then, he found the youthful exuberance that has brought him global appeal and great success. Manassero smiled and said things would be all right.
“I made the cut,” he said, and that’s something he can’t say about the Masters, U.S. Open, and Open Championship.