Abu Dhabi: Matteo Manassero, who shot a smart second round of four-under-par 68 to more to a four-under-par total of 140 at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, revealed his love of the capital.
The 20-year-old Italian, one of the rising stars of golf, says he regarded the city as his second home.
“It’s like home in some ways. I think it’s the fourth time I’ve been here at this event, but I’ve been here many more times to practise,” he said, after a smart back nine in which he notched up four birdies.
Sporting a “Golf in Abu Dhabi” hat at the media briefing after his round, Manassero added: “It’s a really nice place. I really like it otherwise I wouldn’t have it on my hat.”
Manassero, who started with a par score of 72, had one birdie and a bogey in his front nine before finishing off in style.
“When it’s quite cold in Italy, I come here, and conditions are just like today,” said Manassero, who bagged the Barclays Singapore Open last year to become the first teenager to win three European Tour events.
“The courses are all in great condition throughout the whole year really. I think they could all host an event tomorrow morning. But the most important thing for professional golfers is to have somewhere to go and be sure that it’s going to have a good and useful practice,” he said.
Manassero was also the youngest winner in European Tour history after winning the Castello Masters aged 17 years and 188 days in 2010, and added a second win in the Maybank Malaysian Open in March, 2011.