4/11/10 FINAL ROUND UPDATE:
Matteo Manassero finished T36 and graciously accepted the trophy for low amateur at The Masters. He recognized Phil Mickelson's victory, and was wished luck on his impending professional career by the 2010 Champion. They will, without a doubt, see each other on the course again soon.
On Sunday, Manassero continued to show the kind of consistency that most golf fans in the world saw for the first time this week -- hitting an amazing 48 of 56 fairways (tied for second in the field at 86%) and not carding a single double bogey. The reigning British Amateur champion, who will turn pro at the Italian Open in three weeks, capped his even par final round with a fine approach shot at the last that fed down the hill for a routine birdie.
4/10/10 SATURDAY UPDATE:
Despite closing with bogeys on two of the last three holes, Manassero put up a solid 73 on Saturday. He won’t finish in the top 15, like he did at the British Open, but this 16-year-old has proven he has serious game.
“My game makes me more comfortable and assured of my abilities,” Manassero said.
He’s also the only player in the field whose trip to Augusta was bookended with, well, high school. Ugh.
* * * *
by Sean Martin
AUGUSTA, Ga. (April 9, 2010) – Matteo Manassero already made history this week when he hit his first tee shot. The 16-year-old is the youngest competitor in Masters history.
Add another accomplishment to his resume: Manassero made the 36-hole cut. The youngest competitor in tournament history is now the youngest to make the cut.
Manassero, the reigning British Amateur champion, shot 71-76 to finish in a tie for 40th and on the cut line. He was the only amateur to make the cut this year. He’s also the first amateur since 1999 to make the cut.
“I’ve won the low amateur, which is a great honor and a great victory, so I’m really happy about this,” Manassero said. “But I’m a little upset for some other things that happened today outside on the course.
“I want to say my game was not good today. I played so well yesterday. Today I struggled a little.”
Manassero will turn pro next month at the Italian Open. He’s made the cut in six of seven events on the European Tour since last season, including this week. He has three top 25s in those starts.
Manassero has also made the cut in consecutive major starts. He tied for 13th at last year’s British Open.
“That’s why he’s turning pro, because he plays better when the game is hard, and the tournament is on a tough course,” his caddie, Alberto Binaghi, said. “He shot 4 over, but not because he was scared, because he went for every shot.”
He scrambled on the second nine to make the cut. He holed par putts of 12 feet on No. 11, 15 feet on No. 12, 15 feet on No. 15 and 6 feet on No. 17.
Young stars evoke images of brash bombers who fearlessly attack courses. That’s not Manassero.
He’s humble and soft-spoken. He’s not very long, but succeeds by hitting it straight. Manassero hit 23 of 28 fairways, but only half his greens over the first two rounds. He averaged 270.3 yards per tee shot, which ranks 44th among the 48 players who made the cut.
His scrambling in the second round showed why Manassero’s hero is Seve Ballesteros. Manassero met Ballesteros at the Italian Open, when Manassero was 4 years old.
Manassero is used to being in the company of golf’s best players. He played with Tom Watson during the first two rounds of last year’s British Open, and played with 36-hole co-leader Lee Westwood this week.
“When he put the ball on the first tee of the British Open, I understood that it was time to turn pro because he was playing with Watson and Garcia, and he said, ‘Thank you,’ and he parred the first (six) holes and he hit the best shots of his life,” Binaghi said. “If you can play better when you’re under pressure, that means that you are ready to turn pro.”
* * *
Final amateur scores from The Masters follow:
Low Amateur: Matteo Manassero 71-76-73-72 = 292 (+4)
The following playes missed the 36 hole cut: