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Dublin: 14 °C Sunday 5 July, 2020

Home favourite Manassero primed for Italian job

The Italian Open tees off tomorrow at Royal Park and 19-year-old Manassero has done his utmost to be ready for the challenge.

Matteo Manassero.
Matteo Manassero.
Image: Getty images

EXCITING PROSPECT Matteo Manassero is eagerly awaiting the Italian Open after tailoring his calendar to ensure his readiness for the event.

The Italian Open tees off tomorrow at Royal Park and 19-year-old Manassero has done his utmost to be primed and ready.

Manassero has enjoyed a rise to prominence since becoming the youngest winner of the British Amateur Championship at the age of 16 in 2009. The 2010 Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year has already claimed two European Tour titles, the Castello Masters and the Malaysian Open, before his 18th birthday.

“I’ve fixed my schedule so I am well prepared for the Italian Open,” Manassero said. ”I’m playing the Omega European Masters and the KLM Open leading up to the Italian Open because I wanted to get some tournament play in beforehand, which always helps me feel prepared.

“It’s a big week for me and all the Italians. Personally, I love the course. I think it’s a great venue.  So hopefully we will have some nice weather and it will be a good week.”

Manassero has five top-10 finishes this season, including second place at the Open de Andalucia Costa del Sol in March but he will need to overcome a list of experienced golfers. And they do not come more experienced than Colin Montgomerie, a fellow recipient of the Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year award in 1988.

Montgomerie, who has won the European Tour Player of the Year on four occasions, is looking to add to his sixth place showing at the Johnnie Walker Championship with another top-10 display. European Ryder Cup team members Nicolas Colsaerts, Martin Kaymer and Francesco Molinari are also present in the field and they will take part in their final tournament before flying out to Illinois to face the United States.

Robert Rock, who carded a 21-under-par 267 to clinch the crown in 2011, will defend his crown but recent form suggests back-to-back victories may be beyond him. The Englishman has failed to crack the top 20 in his last eight European Tour events since finishing ninth at the Volvo World Match Play Championship in May.

Meanwhile, 2010 champion Fredrik Andersson Hed of Sweden and 2002 PGA Championship winner Rich Beem are also set to feature.

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