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Matteo Manassero: Attitude primary focus in India with Italian in mix for more DP World Tour silverware in comeback season

Matteo Manassero: Attitude primary focus in India with Italian in mix for more DP World Tour silverware in comeback season

You wait almost 11 years to win again on the DP World Tour and then find yourself firmly in the hunt for a second victory in your comeback season in the space of a month.

That is the position Matteo Manassero finds himself heading into the weekend at the Hero Indian Open. Just don’t expect the Italian to be getting carried away.

Matteo Manassero-2121396902

After opening his week with a flawless seven-under-par 65 at the historically challenging DLF G&CC, the 30-year-old followed up with a second-round 68 that featured two eagles on Friday.

It saw Manassero reach 11 under par, three shots adrift of clubhouse leader Keita Nakajima, who fired his second successive 65 in New Delhi.

So, how is the Italian – who graduated from the European Challenge Tour at the end of last season – approaching the weekend action with a sixth DP World Tour title in his eyeline?

“I don’t really make many plans,” he said. “I just want the attitude to be good. I have to think about narrowing it down to the moment…

“If you think too far ahead on this golf course you can make up a story that can go any way.

“I’m just going to focus on every shot and that will be my attitude, we’ll see how it goes. The plan is to work on myself and to be at my best.”

World Number 187 Manassero described returning to the DP World Tour winner’s circle with victory at the Jonsson Workwear Open in South Africa earlier in March as the best day of his life on a golf course.

That statement emphasised the remarkable nature of his return to prominence, having endured the lows elite sport.

After earlier emerging to recognition when he claimed the first of four DP World Tour titles in a three-year span at the Castelló Masters Costa Azahar in 2010, he subsequently lost his form and has since worked his way back up to golf’s global Tour via the Alps Tour and most recently the Challenge Tour.

But to win this week, he seems set to face the challenge of rising Japanese star Nakajima, who at one stage led by six shots on Friday before recovering from a difficult stretch on his back nine to finish birdie-eagle and hit the front from France’s Romain Langasque.

“I was thinking how good was he playing (for Nakajima to be six shots clear), because I have been playing really good and I must have been so far behind. Fair play to him,” added Manassero, who missed the cut last week in Singapore.

“But this golf course, a lot of things can happen to all the players out there. I had an eventful day today, luckily I managed to get a lot of birdies and eagles.”

One of those came when he holed his third shot from 152 yards with a wedge at the par-five 17th, among several eye-catching holes – in this case because of the elevation change from the fairway to the green.

“I was doubting between a little nine and a wedge because the wind was switching.

“As soon as I felt it went a bit down my caddie told me a wedge was absolutely fine.

“So, it was a much easier shot, I used the bank on the right, it came out perfect. I knew it went in from the reaction of the guys at the back of the green, it was a special one.”

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