Tuesday, December 29, 2009



British amateur champion Matteo Manassero is on course to become the first Italian winner of the boys' title in the prestigious Junior Orange Bowl international junior golf championship over the Biltmore course at Coral Gables, Florida.
The 16-year-old from Rome shot a third-round, two-under-par 68 today for a 54-hole total of seven-under-par 203.
If he did win he would be following in the footsteps of previous winners such as Mark Calcavecchia (1977), Tiger Woods (1991) and Ben Parker (2005).
With one round to go, Manassero, No 2 in the R&A world amateur golf rankings, leads by three shots from Argentina's Emiliano Grillo whose 66 was the best third-round score by a boy.
England's Jonathan Bell from the Royal Blackheath club, Kent, has played steadily for rounds of 71, 72 and 71 and a tally of four-over-par 214. He ran up a double bogey 5 at the short eighth in his third round and shots dropped more cancelled out his birdies at the 1st, fourt and 12th.
Thailand's Ariya Jutanugarn leads the girls' event after a three-under 67 for three-under 207.
But second-placed title favourite Alexis Thompson from Florida will fancy her chance of making up the two-stroke leeway after a 66 for 209.
Par 210 (3x70)
203 Matteo Manassero (Ita) 65 70 68.
206 Emiliano Grillo (Arg) 68 72 66, Roman Wattel (Fra) 67 71 68.
207 Tom Lovelady (US) 69 67 71.
208 Andrea Bolognesi (Ita) 67 71 70.
209 Justin Thomas (US) 69 71 69.
212 Curtis Thompson (US) 67 73 72.
Selected score:
214 Jonathan Bell (Eng) 71 72 71.
Par 210 (3x70)
207 Ariya Jutanugarn (Thai) 71 69 67.
209 Alexis Thompson (US) 71 72 66.
210 Cindy Feng (US) 71 72 67.
216 Moriya Jutanugarn (Thai) 69 74 73, Monifa Sealy (T&T) 73 72 71.
218 Victoria Tanco (Arg) 73 75 70.
219 Laetitia Beck (Isr) 71 77 71.
220 Emilie Alonso (Fra) 73 78 69, Daisy Nielsen (Den) 69 77 74, Kristine Odaiyar (US) 71 77 72.


Seeking wire-to-wire victory, Italy's Matteo Manassero extended his lead to three strokes with a 2-under par 68 in the third round of the 46th Junior Orange Bowl International, a three day total of 7-under par. The British Amateur Champion leads Argentina's Emilano Grillo, who joined France's Romain Wattel in second place with a sparkling 6-birdie 66. As gusting wind toughening the tight Biltmore GC test, only five boys carded below par and three are now top-four in the championship race
In the girls section overnight leader Ariya Jutanugarn held firm against a barrage of birdies by Alexis Thompson and goes into the final round with a 2-stroke advantage after a 3-under par 67. Thompson's best-of-the-day 66 gave her outright ownership of second place, a stroke ahead of Cindy Feng. Last year's winner Victoria Tanco carded even-par 70 and is 11 shots off the pace.
This battle of super-talented 14-olds produced high-quality golf by any measure. Jutanugarn stretched her lead to five strokes early but over the back-nine as the wind gusted up, tall and powerful Thompson turned the pressure on the diminutive Asian Pacific Champion, garnering four birdies in a five-hole stretch.
16-year old Manassaro got off to a dynamic start, birdieing three of the four opening holes and went without a blemish on his card until the 12th hole. “I really struck the ball well today, best striking of the week, but my putting was not as good as the first two days,” the world number-2 ranked amateur said later. “It was to be expected. I'd putted so well in the first rounds.” The long-hitting leader's first three-putt came after fifty-one holes, an ambitious long attempt for birdie that came unstuck, immediately rectified on the following hole with flag-sticking wedge. “Tomorrow I'll just try and stay calm,” he said.
Argentina's Grillo carded five birdies before his first error, at the 13th . When he was unable to rescue par at the 17th from a greenside bunker his chase to close in on Manassero was over. USA's Tom Lovelady fought a balky putter for 71.

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