Golf: Oostie tipped to shrug off Masters heartache

KUALA LUMPUR- Teen champion Matteo Manassero Tuesday backed Louis Oosthuizen to shrug off his Masters heartache at the Malaysian Open - but warned victory would be "nearly impossible" for the South African.

Manassero, who claimed his second European Tour win in Kuala Lumpur last year, said the unflappable Oosthuizen would not be fazed by Sunday's near-miss at Augusta, when he lost a dramatic play-off with Bubba Watson.

"I think he'll respond really well. He's played fantastically during the Masters, but what can you do? Bubba's done really well as well," said the 18-year-old Italian.

"If you get into a play-off, it's the Masters and anything can happen. It didn't go his way but he's already won a major and it gives you even more confidence that you can still win another one.

"Especially at the Masters, if you have an opportunity like that it will always stay in your mind all your life. But... he's a very relaxed guy, he doesn't look as if he's taken it that badly."

Last year, Manassero beat a high-quality but jet-lagged field in Malaysia including freshly crowned Masters champion Charl Schwartzel and Rory McIlroy, who threw away a four-shot lead in the last round.

And he warned that Oosthuizen's trans-global flight across 13 time zones from Augusta to Kuala Lumpur, coupled with Malaysia's notorious tropical heat and humidity, meant the odds were stacked high against the 2010 Open winner.

Oosthuizen holed an albatross from 253 yards in the Masters' last round and saw his putt for victory on the first play-off hole skim the cup. Watson pulled off a tournament-winning pitch shot from the trees on the second extra hole.

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