ONE THOUSAND WATCH MANASSERO BECOMES YOUNGEST-EVER AMATEUR CHAMPION AT FORMBY
20 June 2009, Formby, England: 16-year-old Matteo Manassero has won the 2009 Amateur Championship after beating England’s Sam Hutsby 4&3 in today’s 36-hole final which was watched by over 1000 spectators.
The Italian becomes the youngest player to win The Amateur Championship at 16 years and two months (62 days), easily surpassing the previous record of 18 years and one month. He also becomes the first Italian to win the Championship in its 124-year history and only the third man to win the title having led the stroke play qualifying.
“I never imagined once that I could win this tournament; I’m shocked. It’s unbelievable!” said Manassero from Verona, who finished 19th at last month’s Italian Open. “I think everyone in Italy knows about it already, and I hope it helps with amateur golf there. To be the first Italian, wow, that is something very special.”
Manassero will now accept invitations to both The Open Championship this July, and next April’s Masters Tournament. And he’ll go to Turnberry with the advantage of having played the Ailsa course at last year’s Amateur Championship.
The final saw Manassero continue the form which had seen him progress through all rounds with relative ease, only once being behind in any of his five previous matches. Today, the pair reached the 16th tee all square after a tight opening, but an untidy bogey from Hutsby and two birdies from Manassero over the final holes of the morning gave the Italian a three-hole lead at the half-way stage.
He would build on that lead going into the afternoon, reaching the 25th hole 6-up courtesy of a pair of birdies and some loose shots from Hutsby. And though the Englishman fought back well, producing two consecutive birdies of his own at the 31st and 32nd to reduce the deficit to four holes, the Italian always looked comfortable, eventually sealing victory on the 33rd with a three-foot putt.
“I didn’t sleep much last night, thinking about what this would mean,” said runner-up, Hutsby. “The three holes at the end of the first round really cost me, and I couldn’t get my putter going.”
Manassero will play at The Open Championship at Turnberry, being held from the 12 – 19 July 2009.
The 2010 Amateur Championship will be hosted by Muirfield and North Berwick on the 14 – 19 June.