Thursday, 20 May 2010
Matteo Delpodio (Claudio Scaccini) ()
Matteo Delpodio (Claudio Scaccini) ()

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The Molinari brothers’ success on the world stage might have changed Italy’s broader golfing horizons beyond recognition but their achievements have also had more of a personal impact on rising star Matteo Delpodio.

Like the Molinaris, the 24 year old hails from Turin and is based at Royal Park I Roveri, the course where the Omega Mission Hills World Cup winning siblings honed their games.

Delpodio has watched with keen interest as Edoardo and Francesco both climbed into the Top 50 on the Official World Golf Ranking as he plots his own way towards international accomplishment.

Currently leading the Order of Merit on the satellite Alps Tour, Delpodio is one of a number of promising young Italian golfers hoping to follow in the footsteps of the Molinari brothers and establish themselves on The European Tour.

He is one of 26 Italians in the field for this week’s Mugello Tuscany Open and admits that witnessing Edoardo Molinari’s success in particular, which included winning the European Challenge Tour Rankings last season with record earnings, has given him confidence that he can go on to follow a similar path.

“I know both the Molinari brothers well as we are from the same course and we practised together,” he said. “Francesco is now living in London but Edoardo is a good friend of mine. I’m very lucky that I get to practice with him a lot and learn from him.

“He is four years older than me but when we are both not outside Italy we will spend some time together – I was with him last weekend.  We are good friends and he is an inspiration to me.

“I met him when he was a good amateur and now he is in the Top 50 in the world so it’s good for me to see how he did it. It proves that it can be done, that it is not impossible. Hopefully I can do it too.”

Delpodio turned professional in 2007 and has been one of the players to benefit from the Italian Golf Federation’s golfing programme, which seeks to nurture promising young talent by securing playing opportunities and sponsorship.

“Italian golf is in a good position at the moment,” said Delpodio. “Massimo Scarpa, the coach of the Italian National Team, is doing such a good job helping us finding sponsors.  To start the season knowing you have the Federation behind you to cover 60 per cent of your expenses is a good way to start. It is not an easy time to find sponsors at the moment.

“More than that – the help outside of the money that we get is very important. Soon Italy will show everyone something special in golf. At the moment results we are getting is very good considering the number of players we have.

“I want to play on The European Tour – it is very tough to get there but if you have enough patience I think everything will come together.”

First Delpodio’s more immediate plan is to try to secure his best Challenge Tour finish in this week’s Mugello Tuscany Open, while he also has his sights set on following compatriot Andrea Perrino as winner of the Alps Tour Order of Merit. Two of Edoardo Molinari's three Challenge Tour victories came in Italy last year and while Delpodio would like to follow suit, he is aware of the strength of competition he will come up against at UNA Poggio dei Medici Golf Club.
 
“The standard on the Challenge Tour is very high,” he said. “You have to play well even just to get in the top 40. I’m leading the Alps Tour at the moment but even the Alps Tour is so hard now. The level is high.

“I won a couple of months ago on the Alps Tour and my game is in good shape. I’m playing well and I hope to do well this week. There’s not much pressure on me as I know I can go back on to the Alps Tour where I am doing well.

“My goal is to win the Alps Tour and then go to Qualifying School. I want to do the same as Andrea Perrino last year – make sure I am on the top five on the Alps Tour by the end of July to get a category then play some more Challenge Tour events for the experience.”

While a similar meteoric rise as Edoardo Molinari might be a little ambitious at this stage, Delpodio’s, it seems, is determined to follow his friend into golf’s upper echelons.

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