Domenico Geminiani, 14, will tee it up this week at the BMW Italian Open, where he’ll become the youngest player ever to compete in a European Tour event.
As you might expect, Geminiani is not your average teen. He’s 6-foot-1. He weighs 195 pounds. He walks the course in size-14 shoes. He has the world’s best instructors at his disposal and resounding adulation on both sides of the pond. (He’s a Florida resident and Italian citizen.)
And yet, he’s not even the most sought-after high schooler in Turin this week. That distinction belongs to fellow Italian Matteo Manassero, the 17-year-old phenom who is making his pro debut less than a month after making the cut at the Masters.
Geminiani, of Bradenton, Fla., made headlines of his own recently when he was announced as the youngest U.S. Open entrant – he turned 14 on March 20 – and at Royal Park I Roveri he’ll have another opportunity to test his skills at an elite level, even with many of the game’s top Europeans at The Players Championship.
It may not be long before Geminiani joins that crowd. In a casual round last year with reigning British Open champ Stewart Cink, Geminiani led the six-time Tour winner by a stroke after 12 holes at Old Corkscrew Golf Club in Estero, Fla. Sure, Cink pulled away on the back nine, but needless to say, Geminiani made quite an impression.
He won his most recent event on the Florida Junior Tour, a one-shot victory March 7 at Lake Wales Country Club. (He shot rounds of 70-68.) He has won four of his last five events in the boys 13-15 division, and finished runner-up once. Against the older boys (16-18), he has posted four top-5 finishes, including three runners-up, despite breaking 70 only twice.
It will be a decidedly more difficult test this week in Turin. The first of many, to be sure.
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Update: Geminiani shot rounds of 80-78 to finish at 14-over 158, tied for 150th and last among those who completed the first two rounds.