Matteo Manassero eying a return to the main DP World Tour after a second Challenge Tour victory

Ralph Casey

Matteo Manassero (Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

Matteo Manassero was back in the winning enclosure on home soil with a second victory of the year on the lower tier European Challenge Tour.

The former high-flying Italian is showing all the signs of a comeback that could see him scale the heights of world golf that saw him the youngest ever winner of a tournament on the DP World Tour when he clinched the Castello Masters in Spain back in 2010, aged just 17. 

That was 13 years ago, but the still young Italian (30) secured a memorable second European Challenge Tour title on home soil at the Italian Challenge Open on Sunday evening.


The four-time DP World Tour winner held a two-shot advantage heading into the final round and a five under par round of 67 meant he finished 21 under and three clear of Englishman Will Enefer, sparking emotional scenes on the 18th green at Golf Nazionale.

The Irish in Italy never really got into proper contention, with former Walker Cup player, Niall Kearney, the joint best after a closing 67 shot him up the leaderboard.

He finished on nine under, 12 off the pace of Manassero, which gave him a share of 26th place, alongside Northern Ireland’s Jonathan Caldwell, who also finished on nine, but with a poorer closing 69.

Manassero, picked up his maiden Challenge Tour title at the Copenhagen Challenge presented by Ejner Hessel earlier this year and following a second triumph in his native Italy this week, has made giant strides towards making a heroic return to Europe’s top tier.

He said: “It feels amazing.

“My goal this year was to win more than once. 

“I won in Copenhagen to return to the winner’s circle and it’s so special to prove that I can do it again.

“Coming into the week I wasn’t feeling great, but this is a special week and it has brought the best out in me. I am so happy that I have managed to get it done and now I am in a great position on the Rankings.

“This was such an important week for me. I’m struggling to put it into words. I had a lot of people following me and I’m pleased I have been able to give them such joy for the week. “This is definitely one I will never forget. This could be my way back to the DP World Tour and to win in my home country is so special.

“My wife has caddied for both of my victories now which is amazing. She has the best record ever and she keeps me calm and in a good perspective. She doesn’t play golf but she makes everything easier and she is so helpful to have by my side.”

Germany’s Marc Hammer finished in third place on 17 under par, while England’s Alex Fitzpatrick finished a shot further behind in fourth.

Frenchman Pierre Pineau carded the low round of the week, a ten under 62, to finish in a share of fifth place alongside countryman Robin Roussel, Welshman Jack Davidson and Denmark’s Nicolai Kristensen and Sebastian Friedrichsen on 14 under par.

Manassero climbs into second place on the Road to Mallorca Rankings on 949 points, still 32 points behind Frenchman Ugo Coussaud in pole position.


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