Manassero poised for bright future

4/12/2010 12:18:29 AM
Matteo Manassero   (Getty Images)
Matteo Manassero (Getty Images)
Sixteen year old Italian Matteo Manassero, the youngest player in Masters history, achieved the best finish by a European amateur for 73 years.

Manassero, ready to turn professional in a month's time when he will make his debut in the BMW Italian Open in Turin, came joint 36th on four over par, two places and three strokes better than Sergio Garcia managed when he was the last British Amateur champion to survive the cut in 1999.

You have to go back to the fourth Masters in 1937 for a better performance from a European amateur. That was England's Francis Francis, who finished 28th - on 14 over.

"Today I think I played really good," said Manassero after a closing birdie gave him a level par 72. "I can't play much better than this. Definitely it will help me in all areas to play with these guys, be comfortable with this crowd and to understand that I can compete with these guys.

"It's very important. Playing on a course like this obviously makes you understand that you can play on every course."

His professional debut comes in the BMW Italian Open on May 6-9 and, having finished a brilliant 13th in The Open last year, a glittering future looks a certainty for the former Junior Ryder Cup player.