Abu Dhabi: Matteo Manassero, the first teenager in history to win three European Tour titles, has inspired the golfers of the future at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship.
Manassero, who has just renewed his role as Global Golf Ambassador for Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi), met with over 30 youngsters, taking them through a warm-up session with a demonstration of his skills with a seven iron on Saturday.
Manassero said: “It’s very nice to be here with the kids today. I was their age not long ago, and I wish I had the opportunity to watch a professional golfer play and explain things.
“It’s a responsibility for me now, and a good one. These are the golfers of the future.”
Keshav, a nine-year-old boy from Al Ain who took part in the clinic, said he was “really inspired” by Manassero. “I think it was great of him to come here today to spend time with us,” he added.
Manassero, who shot a smart second round of four-under-par 68 to move to a four-under-par total of 140 in Abu Dhabi on Friday, 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.
“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.
Tickets to the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship are still available at the gate or the event’s official website – www.abudhabigolfchampionship.com – as well as online at www.timeouttickets.com.