Manassero for Killarney

MATTEO Manassero, the Italian teenage sensation who has taken the world of golf by storm in the past 12 months, is the latest star to commit to playing in the 3 Irish Open in Killarney at the end of the month.

And though the 17-year-old was not even born the last time Ireland’s showpiece golf event was held in the famous Kerry venue, he insists he wants to create his own piece of history in the Kingdom.

“I know Faldo won the 3 Irish Open at Killarney in 1991 and 1992 but I wasn’t born at the time so it’s difficult for me to remember!” he said.

“One of the main reasons I will play in Ireland is because I have been told that the golf course will suit my game. I know that Faldo won in Killarney for two years in a row, and that you have to be straight and be able to control the ball to play well there.”

The 3 Irish Open will be the fifth of the seven invitations Manassero is entitled to on The European Tour, as he bids to become the youngest Affiliate Member in The Tour’s history to win his card.

The current holder of that honour is Sergio Garcia, who, aged 19, won the 1999 Irish Open a while Rory McIlroy was another stand-out Affiliate Member in 2007, winning his place on The European Tour with a memorable third place at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.

“The goal is to do what guys like Sergio and Rory have done and get my card in the space of the seven events,” said Manassero yesterday.


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