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I was exactly like them - Matteo Manassero happy to excite young fans

I was exactly like them - Matteo Manassero happy to excite young fans

Matteo Manassero was delighted to reward some excitable young support as he contributed to a strong home showing on day one of the 2024 Italian Open presented by Regione Emilia-Romagna.


With Andrea Pavan among the joint leaders on seven under par, Francesco Laporta was just two shots back with Manassero’s three-under-par 68 keeping him in the frame at Adriatic Golf Club Cervia.

Manassero was greeted by autograph-hunting youngsters afterwards and said: “I was like them, exactly the same. I would be running around the Italian Opens, kind of annoying everybody that was playing!

“It’s really nice to see a lot of young kids running around, asking for a high five and being involved in the game.

“Sometimes they are brought to the golf course to see, but in this case it seems like they really wanted to get their parents out of the house this morning. That’s something really cool.”

Birdies at the 14th, first, third and eighth, the latter courtesy of a 44-foot putt, were offset only by a closing bogey at the ninth as Manassero put himself in a good position.

“Of course, when it comes to me, I have to play and perform, it’s not granted that I’m going to,” he said.

“I have to balance that out and take the good energies. Today was a good day from that point of view.”

Laporta, also starting on the back nine, made four birdies in six holes from the 11th including a chip-in at the 13th.

He bogeyed the 17th but successive birdies at the fifth and sixth saw him to five under.

He said: “It’s great, every time I’ve played the Italian Open it’s just an unbelievable feeling.

“Today was a great day of golf - even if I didn’t play my best game, the result was pretty good so I’m quite happy. I managed to make a few saves. I didn’t play my best but I’ll take it.

“I saw another Italian play well, Andrea. I’m quite happy about that. Italian Open, home soil, everyone wants to see Italians on top.”

Jacopo Vecchi Fossa was four under, holing birdie putts of 19, 17 and 23 feet at the fifth, 10th and 15th respectively, with Edoardo Molinari and Aron Zemmer two under.

Guido Migliozzi, coming off a win at last week's KLM Open in the Netherlands, was level par. Tommaso Perrino shot 79 on his first DP World Tour appearance since the inception of the G4D Tour for golfers with a disability.

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