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Manassero at Home in the Big League

17 July 2013 16:34 BST

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Matteo Manassero

It was an assured Matteo Manassero who strode into the media centre on the eve of the 142nd Open Championship at Muirfield.

The 20 year-old from Verona gave himself a huge confidence boost when he won this year’s BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth Club and it was a performance he hopes might catapult him into a different league.

“It was a huge result for me,” the Italian admitted. “It was almost a Major field. We were missing the Americans but all the Europeans were there and it gives me a lot of confidence when it comes to playing in the Majors.

“It has helped me to believe that I can be competitive in the big events,” he added. “I didn’t know that before I won at Wentworth but now I’m almost sure I am.”

Manassero is used to creating headlines at The Open because it was back in 2009 that he played alongside the five-time champion Tom Watson as he won the Silver Medal awarded to the leading amateur at The Open.

That episode has left an indelible mark in his mind not least because Watson came so close to lifting a fifth Claret Jug approaching the age of 60.

“It was one of the most incredible weeks of my life,” said the man who earlier the same year had also won The Amateur Championship at Formby.

“I have still got a picture of us doing a high-five after we’d both holed a long putt. That was a great moment but in general it was great to see how he handled everything. He was so relaxed, so nice. He had a great attitude and that’s what impressed me most.

“It’s something I’ve tried to imitate,” he added. “I saw him the other day walking out of the range and he said hullo and said ‘Keep youself out of the bunkers and you’ll be fine.’.

“That’s the tip he gave me and I think that might be good advice.”

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