Matteo Manassero, one of the most exciting young talents in world golf, has confirmed he will return to the Irish Open this year, joining a star-studded field at Fota Island, from June 19-22.
The Italian, who only turned 21 last month, has already won four times on The European Tour, including the flagship BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth Club last year.
He will defend that title later this month before joining Ireland’s four Major Champions – Darren Clarke, Padraig Harrington, Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy – at the Irish Open, which returns to the Cork venue for the first time since 2002.
It will be Manassero’s third appearance in the Irish Open, having previously played at Killarney in 2010, when he finished in a share of 21st position, and at Royal Portrush two years ago, when he missed the cut.
The Ryder Cup hopeful will be aiming to improve on that record as he attempts to become the first continental European to win the Irish Open title since Denmark’s Thomas Björn in 2006.
“The Irish Open is one of the most prestigious tournaments on The European Tour and it would be fantastic if I could win it after my victory at Wentworth last year,” said Manassero.
“The Irish crowds are always great and they help make it a really enjoyable event to play, so I’m really looking forward to playing at Fota Island.”
Manassero will also be looking to extend his record of winning a European Tour event in each of the last four seasons, after becoming the youngest winner in the history of the European Tour in the 2010 Castelló Masters Costa Azahar at the age of 17 years and 188 days.
He will be joined at Fota Island by fellow Italian’s Francesco and Edoardo Molinari, both of whom have represented Europe in The Ryder Cup, and Marco Crespi, who became the latest Italian to win on The European Tour by triumphing at the NH Collection Open in Spain at the start of April.
Manassero will already be able to count on some Irish support at Fota Island as his caddy, Dave McNeilly, hails from Belfast and used to work for three-time Major Champion Padraig Harrington.
The 2014 Irish Open takes place on the Jeff Howes-designed course at Fota Island Resort, offering great value for a full day’s entertainment with advance tickets priced at €30 for an Adult Day Ticket (€35 on the gate) and €70 for Adult Season Tickets (€80 on the gate). Children under 16 go free.
For tickets, prizes and more info, visit www.irishopen.ie.
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