Just two days after shooting a career-best 61, Matteo Manassero celebrated what he tabbed “the best day of my life on the golf course.”

The 30-year-old Italian shot a final-round 66 at Glendower Golf Club on Sunday to win the Jonsson Workwear Open in Johannesburg, South Africa. His three-shot win over a trio of players marked Manassero’s first victory on the DP World Tour in 11 years.

“It has been a crazy journey, but in the last few years I knew I was getting back on track,” Manassero said. “Golf is such a difficult game. I am just so happy to be here now. I played well today, but the guys behind were playing some incredible golf and every time I looked at the leaderboard it was a new name with more birdies.”

Born near Verona, Manassero started playing golf at age three with a set of plastic clubs. At 16, he became the youngest winner of the British Amateur Championship in 2009 before taking the silver medal for low amateur in the 2009 British Open Championship. Manassero still holds the record as the youngest-ever winner on the DP World Tour at 17 years, 188 days in 2010 (Castello Masters Costa Azahar in Spain), but he had recorded only seven top-10 finishes since winning the 2013 BMW PGA Championship, the tour’s flagship event and his fourth career title.

Manassero climbed as high as 25th in the Official World Golf Ranking before chasing distance gains and losing control of his swing. As the frustration mounted, he even quit playing for a brief stretch five years ago, and entered the week ranked No. 381. Manassero won twice on the Challenge Tour last season to regain his DP Tour privileges for the first time in five years.

Manassero shot 26-under par to edge Shaun Norris (68), Thriston Lawrence (63) and Jordan Smith (68), who shared second.

After a long and winding road, the can’t-miss kid who missed has found his way back to the winner’s circle.


Source: Golf Week