Teenage sensation Matteo Manassero faces the biggest test of his young sporting life at Wentworth tomorrow.
After a third round of the BMW PGA Championship that was full of the good, the bad and plenty of the downright ugly, 18-year-old Manassero is tied for the lead with world number two Luke Donald.
World number one Lee Westwood, trying to fend off Donald at the top of the rankings, is only two shots back in joint third with Paraguay’s Fabrizio Zanotti.
But the two English stars are fully aware of what a talent Manassero is.
Thirteenth in the Open at the age of 16 and the youngest-ever player to make the cut in the Masters last year, he has already won twice on the European Tour in just over 12 months as a professional.
A third victory now would make him the youngest winner of the circuit’s flagship event, take his earnings through the two million euro mark – and, unbelievably, could take him as high as 15th in the world.
After a 72 put him on the five-under-par mark of 208 overall, the Verona golfer said: “I am certainly not as strong mentally as them (Donald and Westwood) because they more experienced and everything, but I will try to fight.
“Really I don’t think it’s going to be a mental battle. It’s going to be the guy who plays and putts better.”
Westwood commented: “Irritatingly young, isn’t he? I’ve been on Tour longer than he’s been on Earth – but he’s very good.”