Tournament: Italian Challenge Open
Venue: Golf Nazionale, Viterbo, Italy
Hashtag: #ItalianChallenge

PLENEUF-VAL-ANDRE, FRANCE – JUNE 25: Matteo Manassero of Italy plays his first shot on the first hole during Day Three of the Blot Open de Bretagne at Golf Blue-Green Pleneuf-Val Andre on June 25, 2022 in Pleneuf-Val Andre, France. (Photo by Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images)

Matteo Manassero, the youngest winner in DP World Tour history, is relishing the prospect of teeing it up in front of home crowds in the Italian Challenge Open at Golf Nazionale this week.

The Italian triumphed at the 2010 Castelló Masters in Spain aged just 17 years and 188 days, before going on to win on three further occasions, including the prestigious BMW PGA Championship in 2013.

He will be looking to use his vast experience to successfully navigate Golf Nazionale, home to the Italian Golf Federation, and is delighted that the European Tour group and Italian Golf Federation are working together to stage high-profile events in Italy.

“It’s always special to play an event in Italy,” said Manassero. “I get a lot of support which makes me feel good and it is my home. Italy always wants to provide opportunities in golf and it’s great that the European Challenge Tour and the DP World Tour are happy to support.

“This is a huge event for Italian golf because we have players from all over the world competing in Italy. There are a lot of Italian guys playing this week and it’s a great opportunity for those that wouldn’t normally be able to play on the Challenge Tour.”

Manassero has enjoyed some impressive moments on the 2022 Road to Mallorca, recording three top-ten finishes, and currently sits in 40th position on the Rankings.

The 29-year-old admits an event in Italy comes with added expectation, however he is determined to use home comforts as a springboard into the top 20 as he seeks to regain his DP World Tour playing rights for 2023.

“I would love to finish as high up on the leaderboard as possible and be in contention on Sunday,” he said. “It’s a difficult tournament for me because there are extra expectations and we’re playing courses that we know so well but we have not played them in these big competitions under pressure. It can be difficult to keep the focus, but the plan is to approach it as any other week.”

Manassero is joined in Viterbo by last week’s winner Alfie Plant, who claimed his second Challenge Tour title at the Blot Open de Bretagne, as well as Road to Mallorca Number Two Jens Dantorp.

The action gets under way at 7:30am local time on Thursday June 30, with Manassero playing alongside Dantorp and New Zealand’s Daniel Hillier at 9:10am.