Italian teenager Matteo Manassero has confirmed he will defend his title in the 2011 Castelló Masters, which returns to Club de Campo del Mediterráneo, Castellón, Valencia, Spain, for a fourth edition from October 20–23.
Manassero became, at 17 years and 188 days, the youngest winner in European Tour history last October when he triumphed by four shots from Ignacio Garrido, comfortably beating the record held by New Zealander Danny Lee, who was 18 and 213 days when he won the Johnnie Walker Classic as an amateur in 2009.
Manassero added a second title earlier this year in the Maybank Malaysian Open – remarkably, before he had even turned 18 – and is relishing his first appearance as a defending champion.
“The 2011 Castelló Masters will be the first time I have ever defended a title as a professional and I am extremely excited about it,” he said. “I never expected my first victory would come so soon. I had come close in several events before the Castelló Masters last October, but to actually go all the way was a fantastic feeling.
“The Club de Campo del Mediterráneo is a great golf course and obviously holds very special memories for me, as it was the place where I won my first European Tour tournament.
“I am very much looking forward to heading back there as defending champion – it is something that gives me a lot of pride.
“This season has gone very well for me so far and I was delighted to win another tournament early in the year. Hopefully I can continue my good form into the autumn to be in with a chance of successfully defending my title in Castellón.
“It’s a great town and I always enjoy playing in Spain – the weather, the food and the supporters are always great.”
Home favourite Sergio Garcia won the inaugural edition of the event in 2008 at Club de Campo del Mediterráneo, his home club where he has played since he was a junior and where his father is still the professional. Sweden’s Michael Jonzon won by one shot the following year, before Manassero rewrote the record books with his victory in 2010.
The Castelló Masters is one of seven tournaments to be held in Spain on The 2011 European Tour International Schedule, along with the Open de Andalucia de Golf, the Open de España, the Iberdrola Open, the Volvo World Match Play Championship, the Bankia Madrid Masters and the Andalucia Masters.