Thursday, September 2, 2010

Manassero leads European Masters

First round leaderboard:
-7 M Manassero (Ita) -6 G Storm (Eng), M Ilonen (Fin) -5 S Webster (Eng), C Nirat (Tha), R Coles (Eng), R Kulacz (NZ), E Molinari (Ita), D Drysdale (Sco) -4 R-J Derksen (Ned), A Canizares (Spa), D Dixon (Eng), D Clarke (NI), M A Jiminez (Spa), P Waring (Eng), A Wall (Eng), S Hansen (Den) Selected others: -3 R McGowan (Eng), O Wilson (Eng) Level L Oosthuizen (SA) +1 P McGinley (Ire)

Matteo Manassero
Manassero has yet to earn his Tour card for 2011

Italian teenager Matteo Manassero shot a seven-under-par 64 to lead the European Masters after the first round.

The 17-year-old, who went professional in May and is playing his 13th Tour event, leads England's Graeme Storm and Mikko Ilonen of Finland by a stroke.

Englishmen Steve Webster and Robert Coles are five under along with Italian Edoardo Molinari and three others.

Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke is four under while Open champion Louis Oosthuizen carded a level-par 71.

Clarke, one of European Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie's vice captains for the event at Celtic Manor, holed a 30-foot birdie to finish a round containing only one dropped shot on the 11th.


Spaniard Miguel Angel Jiminez, who will be competing in his fourth Ryder Cup in October, carded six birdies and two bogeys to go level with Clarke.

Scot David Drysdale is another of the six players currently tied for third on five under.

The story of the round though was high school student Manassero, who has yet to earn his European playing card for 2011.

After a superb 13th-place finish at last year's Open and 36th at the Masters Tournament in April, he turned professional.

That entitled him to seven sponsors invites for a chance to finish in the top 115 of the European money list, in which he is currently 127th.

A failure to do so means he will have to attend tour school in Spain in December.

He started his round on the 10th and was three under through his first 10 holes before a 25-foot birdie on the third green sparked a superb last seven holes, where he picked up four further strokes.

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