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Monty thrilled by magic McIlroy

It isn't only the US Tour that is still abuzz over Rory McIlroy's stunning Quail Hollow Championship success last week.

European Tour players in the rain-drenched northern Italian city of Turin are also aglow with praise for the 21-year-old and there's no one happier than Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie.

“There is a real buzz out here in Italy,” he said. “It wasn't just Rory winning — it was the way he won that’s caught everybody’s attention. To start the final round four shots behind and to win by four was just fantastic. It also was good that he won so quickly after going through a bit of a downer following Augusta. Rory’s form during the Masters wasn’t great so to see him winning three weeks after was just super.

“On top of Alvaro's (Quiros) win in Spain, I am a very happy European Ryder Cup captain.”

Fellow Ulsterman Darren Clarke was also is awe of McIlroy's effort, having managed to catch TV coverage of the final round after ending in 30th place in the Spanish Open.

McIlroy was a member of Clarke's Junior Foundation team from the age of 13 and there is a great photograph of the two adorning a wall in the Lough Erne Resort clubhouse that McIlroy represents on Tour.

“The way he won was just awesome,” said Clarke. “It was very important for him to win especially after only just making the cut. Rory’s improving the way we always knew he was going to. But the way he played the back nine, he made that back nine look easy. And I have played that back nine at Quail Hollow and it is not easy. To decimate that field the way he did was exceptional, and you had everyone playing there and Rory just blew them away.

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“From what I have been hearing he was starting to get a little bit down on himself, but he is only just 21-years-old and by winning he has shown that he has got enough talent to win any tournament in the world.”

With McIlroy at Sawgrass, Matteo Manassero, the 17-year-old Italian sensation, will be the focus of attention in Turin.

The reigning British amateur champion is making his debut in the professional ranks and will play the opening two rounds alongside Welshman Rhys Davies and Montgomerie.


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