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Manasseros win a tribute to Ballesteros

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Before the age of 18, Matteo Manassero will be ranked the 333rd best player in the world of golf. When the Official World Golf Ranking is published on Sunday evening, the Italian teen will move up 24 spots from 57th in the ladder.

After the win, Manassero talked about his golfing idol growing up in Italy. (Well, he’s still growing up, really). He has three he looked up to, but he admired Seve Ballesteros most.

“He is and will always be,” he said. “I grew up watching Costantino (Rocca), Seve and Tiger. I thought Seve was the kind of player I wanted to be.

“The crowd was cheering for him and he was different to everyone else. He is a great person and a symbol of what a person should be. He sent me a letter after I won in Spain. That was nice.”

At some point, the comparisons will begin between Manassero and the men he mentioned as influences of his. Seve won when he was 19, taking the Dutch Open in 1976. He went on to take 47 more European Tour titles.

Woods didn’t win until he was 21, but he took two events in his rookie year in 1996. And he did it in seven events, to avoid Q-school. The run by Manassero pays more resemblance to what Woods accomplished in Vegas and Orlando – two wins in seven months by the Italian sensation.

Let’s not get crazy. Manassero isn’t Seve and he isn’t Tiger – at least not yet. But he has sure started on the right path, and in the footsteps of his legendary idols.