Domenico Geminiani, one of Italy’s most promising young prospects, returns to his native land this week for the Double Tree by Hilton Acaya Open and the 16 year old has bigger ambitions than just gaining experience.
Geminiani has made a smooth transition onto the European Challenge Tour having turned professional last November at the age of 15, and even managed to claim his first top ten finish at the Fred Olsen Challenge de España last month.
He has already been tipped as the next Matteo Manassero in his home country, but the Turin native, who spent most of his youth in the USA, says this kind of billing does not put any pressure on him.
“I’ll just play my game and hopefully I will do well, and if I don’t I’ll just work harder,” said Geminiani, who finished fourth in the St Andrews Links Trophy last year.
“Professional life has been really good. I've gained a lot of experience with so many good players out here on the Challenge Tour. For somebody to shoot a nine under par round last week is incredible. I was wondering if he played the same course as me!
“Obviously there are difficulties and I knew that before I turned pro - that it’ll be tough early on - but I'm learning and enjoying it.
“So far I've really enjoyed my time on the Challenge Tour. I feel like I'm playing better than my scores show. Last week in Switzerland the ball just never went in - it was always on the lip.
“I think I have the game to get a win, but obviously I just have to find the week and hopefully it will be this week. It would be really nice to do it at home, even though it’s far away from Torino where I'm from, but it would still be great.”
A tough test awaits Geminiani and the rest of the field at Acaya Golf Resort on the Adriatic coast, where last year the halfway cut fell at seven over par. With punishingly thick rough and an abundance of water hazards in store, Geminiani says it will be like a Major Championship.
“I've never played Acaya but I heard last year was really difficult,” he said. “It’s almost going to be like a US Open in Italy with such a tough course. Any experiences like that are important.”
Geminiani will be joined at the Double Tree by Hilton Acaya Open by the Challenge Tour’s only Italian winner this year, Marco Crespi, while Alessandro Tadini, currently 35th in the Rankings, will be hoping for his fourth career Challenge Tour victory.
Raymond Russell returns to the country of his maiden Challenge Tour win after he claimed the Challenge Provincia di Varese three weeks ago.
Former Ryder Cup player Oliver Wilson is also in the field, as is his fellow Englishman Andrew Johnston, who had a week to remember at the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open last week, where he had a hole in one in the first round to win 168 bottles of Laurent Perrier champagne.