Manassero shines like a young Seve

 

Saint-Nom-La-Bretèche

Senor Ballesteros would have been proud of Signor Manassero. If anybody sums up the legacy the Spanish great would have loved to have left the Seve Trophy with,it is surely this stunning young Italian.

There have been more fake heirs to Ballesteros than there was to Henry VIII. But this boy wonder plays like Seve did, swaggers like Seve did, pays absurd disregard to age barriers like Seve did – and the way in which the 18-year-old threw his ball into the lake on the 18th on the first day , and then the way in which he responded, shows the way he takes it as personally as Seve did, too.

Matteo Manassero is a Ryder Cup natural waiting to happen and the only argument is how soon he makes his debut. Lee Westwood has a slight doubt whether Manassero will qualify for Chicago next year – "he's too young, isn't he?" – while Ian Poulter has another theory. "The thing with Matteo is that he may be only 18 but he is so very consistent," said the Englishman. "You can see him racking up enough points to qualify for 2012."

Certainly the youngest player ever to win on the European Tour has the spirit. Seve would disagree, but perhaps Manassero, at this tender age, possesses too much spirit. As his ball went splash on Thursday night and his visor went down for the very first time on Tour he looked his age. "I had to speak with him in the locker room afterwards for 45 minutes," said Jean Van de Velde, the captain of the Continental team. "And then Jose Maria Olazabal spoke to him for 20 minutes."

A lot was said to the Manassero and at least some of it was digested. After recovering from the last-gasp agony to Darren Clarke and David Horsey – when Manassero's long putt to halve the match was two rolls too short – he and his partner, Belgium's Nicolas Colsaerts, beat Ross Fisher and Scott Jamieson by two holes. What was most impressive was the steel with which they held on as their opponents whittled down what had been a commanding advantage.

"Matteo and Nico performed under a severe amount of pressure," said Van de Velde. " They were three-up with four to play and were only one up with two to play. They then finished with a birdie, another birdie and won their game. Matteo is going to be around for very many Seve Trophies and very many Ryder Cups."

Nobody was doubting Van de Velde on that score. Indeed, it was a convincing day all over for the maverick Frenchman. After enduring a miserable fourball opening which the Continentals lost 4-1, they won this fourball session 31/2-11/2. The rousing comeback means that Paul McGinley's Great Britain and Ireland team head into the weekend with a nervous advantage. With four foursomes and four greensomes today followed by 10 singles tomorrow, the competition begins for real now. And with so many rookies on McGinley's roster the next two days will make for intriguing viewing – Manassero's matches especially.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high
How to find gold: The Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge

How to find gold

Steve Boggan finds himself in the Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge
Singing accents: From Herman's Hermits and David Bowie to Alesha Dixon

Not born in the USA

Lay off Alesha Dixon: songs sound better in US accents, even our national anthem
10 best balsamic vinegars

10 best balsamic vinegars

Drizzle it over salad, enjoy it with ciabatta, marinate vegetables, or use it to add depth to a sauce - this versatile staple is a cook's best friend
Wimbledon 2015: Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Serena dispatched her elder sister 6-4, 6-3 in eight minutes more than an hour
Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy