Matteo Manassero has been named The Race to Dubai European Tour Golfer of the Month for May following his “sensational” victory in the BMW PGA Championship – The European Tour’s flagship event – at Wentworth Club, Surrey, England, with which he continued to re-write the record books of golf.
Manassero, who receives an engraved alms award and a Jeroboam of Moët & Chandon champagne, overcame first Scotland’s Marc Warren then, at the fourth extra hole, England’s Simon Khan to claim his fourth European Tour title 37 days after celebrating his 20th birthday.
After becoming, in 2009, the youngest – and first Italian – winner of the Amateur Championship, Manassero progressed by becoming the youngest winner of the Silver Medal awarded to the leading amateur in The Open Championship (2009), then the youngest winner in European Tour history with his success at the age of 17 years and 188 days in the 2010 CASTELLÓ MASTERS Costa Azahar.
Victories in the 2011 Maybank Malaysian Open and the 2012 Barclays Singapore Open enabled Manassero to become the first teenager to win three European Tour events, and his triumph at the age of 20 in the 30th anniversary edition of the BMW PGA Championship made him the youngest winner in the history of an event first played in 1955.
Manassero said: “Winning the BMW PGA Championship was definitely the highlight of my career so far, and now to win the Golfer of the Month is a real bonus. With Brett [Rumford] winning back-to-back titles and Graeme [McDowell] winning the World Match Play Championship the competition was really tough, so I’m very proud to be named the Golfer of the Month and I will put the dish next to my BMW PGA Championship trophy.” (CHECK)
The Race to Dubai European Tour Golfer of the Month Panel, comprising members of the Association of Golf Writers as well as commentators from television and radio, were unanimous in their choice of Manassero despite several outstanding performances in May, launched by Australian Brett Rumford (Volvo China Open) winning for the second successive week; Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell (Volvo World Match Play Championship) claiming a second title in five weeks; American Peter Uihlein capturing the Madeira Islands Open – Portugal – BPI; and Mikko Ilonen the Nordea Masters – in addition to Austrian Bernd Wiesberger and South African James Kingston winning elsewhere in the world.
Michael Harris, Editor of Golf Monthly, said: “A very, very tough month to judge with high-profile wins by Brett Rumford and Graeme McDowell, a superb breakthrough win by Peter Uihlein and an excellent comeback triumph for in-form Mikko Ilonen. Nevertheless, the vote had to go to Matteo Manassero for his sensational win – coming from two shots back, winning a tense three man play-off, becoming the youngest winner of the Championship, collecting his fourth European Tour title little more than a month into his 20th year and winning at Wentworth wearing green slacks that conjured up happy memories of Seve.”
Manassero will now be considered – along with previous winners Chris Wood (January), Darren Fichardt (February), Marcel Siem (March) and Raphaël Jacquelin (April) – for The 2013 Race to Dubai European Tour Golfer of the Year Award, and all will be seeking to follow in the footsteps of last year’s winner Rory McIlroy.