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Manassero gets off to a stormer in Sweden

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Matteo Manassero. Picture: REUTERS/Jonas Ekstromer/Scanpix Sweden

Matteo Manassero. Picture: REUTERS/Jonas Ekstromer/Scanpix Sweden

Matteo Manassero. Picture: REUTERS/Jonas Ekstromer/Scanpix Sweden

Newly crowned BMW PGA Championship winner Matteo Manassero (pictured) picked up where he left off last weekend with an impressive opening 66 at the Nordea Masters in Stockholm.

The 20-year-old Italian, who on Sunday became the youngest victor of the European Tour's flagship event, carded a six-under round to share the first-round lead with Spain's Pablo Larrazabal.

With all the leading scorers having teed off in the morning, Manassero, starting at the 10th, took full advantage with six successive birdies from the off.

Par-bogey-par took him to the turn in 31, but his second nine was slightly less eventful. Nevertheless he was more than happy with his day's work.

"I've never started that well – it was a great start," he said.

Larrazabal has also been in good form recently, with five top-12 finishes in his last six starts.

He too began on the back nine with four birdies and added a further three, dropping only one shot at the 208-yard seventh, to earn a share of the lead.

"I played great, I was five under after 10," the 30-year-old said.

"I made birdies on the par fives and held my score. It wasn't easy.

"I played safe when I had to and more aggressive when I could."

Just one shot behind were a group comprising Swedes Fredrik Andersson Hed and Alex Noren – the 2011 winner – Welshman Jamie Donaldson and English duo Simon Wakefield and Chris Lloyd.


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