DEAL, England – The world of golf sat up and took notice in 2009 when Matteo Manassero won the British Amateur Championship. The golfing world should now pay attention to his protégé.
Renato Paratore is the same age, 16, as Manassero was when he made history by becoming the youngest British Amateur winner. Manassero also became the first Italian winner.
Paratore could become the second Italian winner. He made it through to the quarterfinals Thursday at Royal Cinque Ports Golf Club after a tense battle with Iceland’s Haraldur Franklin Magnus.
The amateur from Rome was 1 down for much of the match but managed to win the 16th hole to draw even. Both players parred the last two holes, but Paratore hit a good tee shot on the first extra hole and found the green with his second. Franklin Magnus, meanwhile, found deep rough left of the fairway and then hit his second shot into the stream that fronts the green. That ended a good contest.
Paratore might have had a psychological edge over his Icelandic opponent. The Italian turned up in England with Manassero’s advice ringing in his ears.
“I know Matteo from playing on the Italian team with him a few times,” Paratore said through an interpreter. “Matteo has been a big help. He was good on telling me how to play links golf. He told me how to play in the wind and how to play punch shots. He knows how it works and how to make it happen because he won this tournament.”
The most refreshing aspect of Paratore’s game is that he plays at a similar pace to Manassero, a four-time European Tour winner: Fast. Actually, Paratore is quicker. He and Franklin Magnus were 53 minutes ahead of schedule for their 18 holes. They took just two hours and 46 minutes, which is lightning quick for world-class amateur golf.
Paratore has an asset that Manassero did not have when he won at Formby: Paratore is much longer off the tee.
Remember the name Renato Paratore. He could follow Manassero and become a future European Tour star.
Stanford’s Jim Liu is Paratore’s next opponent. Liu defeated Denmark’s Kasper Estrup, 2 up, to reach the quarterfinals.
England’s Neil Raymond continued his impressive form with an easy victory over Slovenia’s Tim Gornik. Raymond handed the Slovenian what is commonly known in British golf as a “dog license.” That name for a 7-and-6 win refers to the seven shillings and sixpence in old money that was the traditional price to register canine friends.
Raymond arrived for the 118th Amateur Championship as the man in form. He won the St. Andrews Links trophy two weeks ago to virtually nail his place on the Great Britain & Ireland Walker Cup team.
If that victory didn’t make him a lock for the match against the Americans on Long Island in September, then his performance here should be conclusive proof that the 27-year-old needs to be on the GB&I team.
Raymond was 3 under for his 12 holes. He was 4 up after six and then birdied three holes in a row from the ninth to seal the win.
“I’m continuing the same form I had at St. Andrews,” Raymond said. “I struggled a little on the greens here the first few days, but I really putted well today. I did some work and managed to get my line and pace working, and it paid off today.”
Raymond now faces an interesting match against English teammate Garrick Porteous, winner of this year’s Scottish Stroke Play Championship.
Porteous spent four years at Tennessee before graduating in December with a degree in studio art. He didn’t describe his 3-and-2 win over Ireland’s Aaron Kearney as artistic; it was more workmanlike than a true masterpiece.
The Englishman was 2 under for his round, thanks to making pars after bad tee shots, while Kearney struggled.
“My course management is much better this year thanks to working with (England elite coach) Graham Walker,” Porteous said. “I’m better at knowing which side of the fairways and greens to favor if I’m going to miss. It just makes it easier to get up and down.”
In other matches, TCU’s Paul Barjon defeated England’s Ashley Chesters by two holes. Finland’s Tony Hakula won 3&2 over England’s Tom Berry. Unheralded Englishman Nick Marsh beat higher ranked countryman Callum Shinkwin, 1 up.
Finally, local Kent boy Max Orrin beat Australia’s Jordan Zunic, 3 and 1. Orrin might have the edge on the field. The 19-year-old is a Royal Cinque Ports member, and local knowledge could be the deciding factor over the next two days.
Results of the third and fourth rounds of British Amateur match play, played Thursday at Royal Cinque Ports Golf Club:
- Renato Paratore def. Adrian Meronk, 3 and 2
- Haraldur Franklin Magnus def. Victor Lange, 4 and 2
- Kasper Estrup def. Brett Drewitt, 20 holes
- Jim Liu def. Mads Soegaard, 2 and 1
- Tim Gornik def. Pontus Gad, 5 and 4
- Neil Raymond def. Adam Dunton, 3 and 2
- Garrick Porteous def. Paul Dunne, 3 and 2
- Aaron Kearney def. Jimmy Mullen, 5 and 3
- Ashley Chesters def. Zander Lombard, 3 and 2
- Paul Barjon def. Edward Richardson, 19 holes
- Toni Hakula def. Grant Forrest, 2 up
- Tom Berry def. Tyler Hogarty, 5 and 4
- Max Orrin def. Paul Kinnear, 3 and 2
- Jordan Zunic def. Richard James, 2 and 1
- Callum Shinkwin def. A.J. McInerney, 2 and 1
- Nick Marsh def. Toby Crisp, 1 up
- Paratore def. Magnus, 19 holes
- Liu def. Estrup, 2 up
- Raymond def. Gornik, 7 and 6
- Porteous def. Kearney, 3 and 2
- Barjon def. Chesters, 2 up
- Hakula def. Berry, 3 and 2
- Orrin def. Zunic, 3 and 1
- Marsh def. Shinkwin, 1 up