Matteo Manassero Becomes the Youngest Golfer to Win a European Title

Matteo Manassero (photo courtesy Titleist)

Six months after turning pro, Italian golfer Matteo Manasse became the youngest-ever European Tour winner at the age of 17, after winning the Castelló Masters Costa Azahor in Spain on Sunday.  

“I’m not really thinking about [breaking records] at the moment, I’m still thinking about the European Tour win that I achieved, but I will probably think about the record in the future,” he told Sky Sports News.  “I want to win more events, a major or a Ryder Cup is obviously the biggest dream a golfer can get.”

Manassero admitted that, like so many youngsters on the continent, he was inspired by Steve Ballesteros as a boy.  “Seve Ballesteros has always been my idol.  His personality and what he has done for golf and the tournaments that he won and they way he won them was different to other golfers,” he said.

Manassero was born in Negrar, in the Province of Verona.  In 2009, at the age of 16, he became the youngest ever winner of the British Amateur Championship, defeating England’s Sam Hutsby in the final.  The win qualified him for the 2009 Open Championship, where, playing alongside Tom Watson and Sergio García in the first two rounds, he made the cut and won the silver medal as leading amateur.  He eventually finished tied for 13th place.

Manassero topped the World Amateur Golf Rankings on December 30, 2009  and remained number 1 for 18 weeks.

On April 9, of this year, Manassero beat Bobby Cole‘s record, which lasted since 1967, to become the youngest player ever to make the cut at the Masters Tournament, at 16 years and 11 months and 22 days.  Manassero was nearly two years younger than Cole was when he made the cut at the 1967 Masters.  Mannassero announced that he would turn professional shortly after the Masters and about two weeks after his 17th birthday.  He made his professional debut at the BMW Italian Open.  He officially turned pro on May 3, 2010.

Today it was announced that Mannassero has pulled out of this week’s Andalucia Masters at Valderrama to focus on getting a visa in time for next week’s HBSC World Championship in Shanghai.

He’s in Rome trying to get a visa to visit China for the $7 million tournament in Shanghai.  Manager Gorka Guillen says Manassero “has still not obtained the necessary letter of invitation from the sports ministry to get a visa, and that remains the key issue.”

But for now Matteo is more concerned about math, history and science.  “When I turned pro in May I was still studying at high school so I have had to do it online and via emails.  I have homework every week and will do the exams at a high school in Turin.  But next year I play my first full schedule so won’t have as much study.”