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The Tour Report

February 23 2011

12:52 PM

Manassero one of three teens in field

Live Report Image
Redington/Getty Images
Manassero turned pro in May of 2010 after becoming the youngest player ever to make the cut at the Masters in April.
MARANA, Ariz. -- Matteo Manassero made history a year ago when he became the youngest player to win on the European Tour at the age of 17 years and 188 days. The Italian teen, who won't turn 18 until April 19, is making history again this week at the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship. Manassero is the youngest to ever play in a World Golf Championships event, eclipsing Ryo Ishikawa, who was 18 years, five months and 4 days old when he made debut at Dove Mountain last year. Interestingly, though, Manassero is just one of three teenagers in the field at Dove Mountain this week. Ishikawa is now 19, as is Seung-yul Noh of South Korea. These teenagers can play, too. Ishikawa has already won 11 times on the Japan Tour while Noh, like Manassero, picked up his first European Tour win last year. "It is good because golf is growing and golf is getting younger," Manassero said. "It is something really, really important, I think, for the game.  I feel very fortunate to be lucky to be among these great guys and players, guys first of all.  We're doing a lot for this game and it's just very good, yeah." Manassero faces a former Accenture Match Play Championship winner in Steve Stricker, who is seeded second in the Bobby Jones bracket. Ishikawa, who is seeded 10th in the Bobby Jones bracket, is playing Charl Schwartzel. Should both teens win, they would meet in the second round. Noh may have the toughest test of the three, though. He plays world No. 2 Martin Kaymer in the day's penultimate match at 2:55 p.m. ET. The average age of the players in the Accenture Match Play Championship field is 32.46 years. And 23 of the 64 who made the first World Golf Championships of the year are under the age of 30.