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Matteo Manassero maturing quickly
May 31, 2011

Matteo Manassero wears a hat with the German word for children emblazoned on it but the 18-year-old is showing a growing maturity that could one day lift him to the top of world golf. Described as “irritatingly young” by world number two Lee Westwood when the teenager tied for the lead after 54 holes of the PGA Championship at Wentworth on Saturday, Manassero slipped down the field to end up tied seventh with a closing 75.

“It wasn’t the finish I wanted but it ended up being a great experience which will help me in the future,” the world number 30 told Reuters in an interview.

“I have less experience (than others) but it’s something that goes in my favour. I have so many years in front of me,” said Manassero before flashing a warm smile at his mother.

Manassero possesses boyish good looks and a charming demeanour but he is also remarkably mature for his tender age and already has a rock-solid game.

He became the youngest winner on the tour when he lifted the Castello Masters title in Spain in October at the age of 17 and proved his maiden victory was no fluke by landing the Malaysian Open crown in Kuala Lumpur last month. For Manassero, however, age is irrelevant.

“I’m young but I’ve been playing well. Winning tournaments takes you higher in the world rankings so these are two things that go together,” he explained.

“I just want to play good golf so if I find myself in contention I’ll try to do my best. Sometimes it doesn’t count, sometimes it does.”

Now would be an ideal time for Manassero to move through the gears, with three majors coming up in the U.S. Open next month, the British Open in July and the U.S. PGA Championship in August.

Manassero plays in the style of new world number one and PGA winner Luke Donald, relying on straight rather than explosive hitting to post low scores, but he was quick to play down his chances for the year’s second major at the June 16-19 U.S. Open.

“I think it’s going to be a long course so I don’t know if it will suit me well but I’ll do my best as I do all the time,” he said of the Blue Course at Congressional where South African Ernie Els won in 1997.

“Majors I think are still a big hope but if I keep playing like this then I’ll do well.”

With record crowds in attendance at Wentworth for the European Tour’s flagship event, Manassero is learning to play in front of huge galleries.

“It was nearly like a major out there. There were so many people. It was a great experience and I’m happy to have been able to play in the leading pair in the final round and fight for the win until the end,” he said.








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