The 2009 Amateur Champion and Open Championship Silver Medal winner, Matteo Manassero has turned professional in advance of this week’s Italian Open in Turin. Starting this Thursday, the 17-year-old Italian will accept seven sponsors’ invitations to European Tour events in an attempt to earn enough money to secure his card for next year, without needing to go through qualifying school.
"I feel ready to turn pro and am especially happy to be able to play my first event as a professional in Italy, said the Veronese, who has made the cut in six of the seven professional events in which he has competed.
"I am grateful that the Italian Federation and the sponsors have given me the opportunity to start my professional career at home in front of my family and friends and all those who have supported me throughout my amateur career.
"I hope to play well to reward their faith in me and to thank them for all their support."
His progression to the professional game marks the next stage of a career which has seen him achieve so much in such a short space of time. In June 2009, he burst onto the scene when he became the youngest player ever to win the Amateur Championship. The following month came a stellar performance at Turnberry in The Open, one which saw him genuinely in contention for the Claret Jug.
More success came as Manassero ascended to the top of the World Amateur Golf Ranking by the final week in 2009. And in April this year, he charmed the patrons at Augusta as he added the Masters Tournament Silver Cup to a list of accolades which, at the age of 17, equals those of any Major Champion, past or present, at a comparative stage in their career.
“[He] is not a guy who's going to get excited or carried away about where he is," said Manassero’s coach Alberto Binaghi of his student, who, last year, joined Suzann Pettersen, Padraig Harrington and Michelle Wie in presenting golf’s case for Olympic inclusion to the IOC at its 121st Session in Copenhagen.
“His age is not a problem," added his father, Roberto, in Augusta. “What's important is that he's tranquil. Matteo is not a self-absorbed person. I see with all the attention he's getting at tournaments, he's still the same Matteo.”
Manassero spent 18 weeks as the world's number one amateur golfer. A new World Amateur Golf Ranking Number One will be announced on Wednesday.