Shadbolt completes Italian job
GOLF by Alan Booth: TOM SHADBOLT gained the most brilliant victory of his young career when he beat local teenage sensation Matteo Manassero to capture the Italian Amateur Championship, winning by one hole after trailing by two holes with nine holes to pl
GOLF by Alan Booth: TOM SHADBOLT gained the most brilliant victory of his young career when he beat local teenage sensation Matteo Manassero to capture the Italian Amateur Championship, winning by one hole after trailing by two holes with nine holes to play.
In the 36-hole final the 21-year-old former Herts county champion from Mid Herts fought his way back after twice being two holes in arrears, and with the pair all square after the morning round he went into the lead for the first time at the most crucial point of the contest.
Again two down to the Italian after nine holes in the afternoon, he birdied 10 and pulled it back to all square at the 15th where after pulling his drive he hooked a 7-iron from 184 yards to 10ft and two-putted as Manassero over-clubbed and failed to get up and down.
After pars at 16, Shadbolt overhit his 5-wood approach to the par five 17th, chipped back to 2ft for birdie as his opponent again failed to get up and down and taking the lead for the first time Shadbolt held on to claim a famous victory as they both parred the final hole.
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"He is the best amateur golfer I have ever played against," said Shadbolt of his opponent Manassero, who had earned international recognition by winning the British Amateur Championship in June and followed in July by winning the silver medal as leading amateur at the Open Championship at Turnberry.
"I had been playing well before going to Italy, and although twice being two down, I was patient and just kept pegging away," said Shadbolt. "It is a brilliant victory for me - my patience paid off. It's really fantastic to beat such a world-class player."
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His progress was watched throughout by his proud mum and dad, Nigel and Louise.
Shadbolt had rounds of 69 67 to qualify in 10th spot for the match play stages, and knocked out four French internationals to reach the final.
Manassero went two up after nine holes in the morning, but Shadbolt was back to all square after 18 with a brilliant burst of birdie, par, eagle, birdie over the last four holes for 31 over the back nine.
Again Manassero raced to be two up after nine holes of the afternoon - but in the end it was a Herts county champion in Tom Shadbolt who capped a superb display by coming through at a crucial time in the contest to beat the world-class Italian in his home venue at the Garda Golf and Country Club in Lombardia.
JAMES WATTS shot a superb round of 60 over his East Herts course to beat his own course record by five strokes.
Playing in a club medal, his round included an eagle, 11 birdies and two bogeys for an 11 under par total.
He had previously shot rounds of 65 on four occasions.