Saturday, 6 November 2010
Italian teenage sensation Matteo Manassero has won The European Tour Race to Dubai Golfer of the Month award for October following his victory in the CASTELLÓ MASTERS Costa Azahar which rewrote the record books.
His superb tally of 16 under par 268, which featured all four rounds in the 60s, saw him win his maiden Tour title by four shots and in the process become the youngest winner in European Tour history at 17 years and 188 days, beating the previous record of New Zealander Danny Lee who claimed the 2009 Johnnie Walker Classic aged 18 years and 213 days.
Notably his win – for which he receives an engraved alms dish and a magnum of Moët & Chandon champagne – also saw Manassero become the youngest person to become a full European Tour Member, eclipsing the legendary Severiano Ballesteros who was 17 years and 200 days when he became a full Member at the end of the 1974 season.
The Italian’s success emerged from one of the most keenly contested Race to Dubai Golfer of the Month Award deliberations of recent years with a host of players considered by the panel which consisted of golfing journalists, photographers, radio and television commentators.
Also considered were Richard Green for his remarkable final day comeback to win the Portugal Masters; Colin Montgomerie, for his successful captaincy of Europe’s Ryder Cup Team; Martin Kaymer for his triumph in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship; Graeme McDowell for his victory in the Andalucia Valderrama Masters; and Lee Westwood for his ascent to the World Number One spot; while Kaymer, McDowell and Westwood were also commended for their part in The Ryder Cup triumph.
The decision, however, went to Manassero who admitted he was delighted to have been selected. “This is a huge, huge honour for me and I am very excited to have won the award,” he said. “When I started to play golf back home in Italy I hoped I might one day win on The European Tour and so when I did it so quickly, it was a dream come true. To be recognised with this important award is very exciting.
“I am very happy to have been given such a great honour and especially so because there were so many players who played very well in October.”
Kevin Garside, golf correspondent of The Daily Telegraph, and one of the judging panel, said: “This was, without question, a very difficult choice for us all because every single player on the list for October had strong merits.
“However to set new records on The European Tour is a very hard thing to do and Matteo achieved not only that, but he also won in a swashbuckling style that is thrilling to watch and one which has earmarked him as one of the hottest properties in golf.”
Manassero joins South Africans Charl Schwartzel (January), Ernie Els (March) and Louis Oosthuizen (July); the English trio of Ian Poulter (February), Luke Donald (May) and John Parry (September); the Northern Irish duo of Rory McIlroy (April) and Graeme McDowell (June) and Germany’s Martin Kaymer (August) among the candidates for The Race to Dubai Golfer of the Year on The European Tour, which will be decided at the end of the season.