Former Italian wonderboy Manassero zoning in on home victory

Ralph Casey

Matteo Manassero (Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

Ralph Casey

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Matteo Manassero is showing flashes of his former golfing genius that made him a multiple winner on the main DP World Tour.
The 30 year old now plys his trade mostly on the Challenge tour and won the Copenhagen Challenge earlier this year.The four-time DP World Tour winner posted a three under par round of 69 to move to 16 under par at Golf Nazionale, two ahead of Englishman Alex Fitzpatrick who sits in second just days after securing a maiden place in The Open through Final Qualifying.

The best of the Irish this weekend is Jonathan Caldwell, who has an outside chance on eight under, eight off the pace in joint 19th place.

Manassero, the youngest winner in DP World Tour history, entered the third round with a two-shot lead and he was pleased to maintain his position at the top of the leaderboard throughout the afternoon in Viterbo.

“It was another solid round today,” he said. “The highlight was my chip in on hole two. Apart from that it was just steady golf, and I gave myself a lot of birdie chances with some good approach shots.

“The pins were a bit tougher today and you had to hit perfect shots onto the right level of the greens. It was hard to play conservative at times.

“I knew how the leaderboard looked and there were plenty of people chasing me. I’ve been out here long enough to know that other players are going to play well and it’s normal. I will just keep focusing on my own game and try to keep the same mindset tomorrow.”

The 30-year-old, who won the Copenhagen Challenge presented by Ejner Hessel earlier this season, is looking forward to a challenging final day at Golf Nazionale as hopes to add the Italian Challenge Open title to his impressive back catalogue.

“You have to respect this course because if you try to hard to make birdies it can take a lot from you,” he said. “I’m in a great position at the moment and I like to be in contention for tournaments. I would rather be in this position than chasing the top of the leaderboard.”

Germany’s Marc Hammer occupies third place on 13 under par, while a shot further back are English trio Jonathan Thomson, Ashley Chesters and Will Enefer, Zimbabwe’s Benjamin Follett-Smith, Denmark’s Sebastian Friedrichsen and Scotland’s Euan Walker in fourth place.

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