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No doubt about it, these lads can play

Whoever said it was right, youth is wasted on the young.

Matteo Manassero, a 17-year-old Italian, recently won the Castello Masters, making him the youngest winner in European Tour history. When asked what he would do with the big chunk of money he won, he said, “I am too young to have a drink, I am too young to drive so I will not be buying a car, and I have not got a girlfriend who would like a present.”

Well, at least he knows how to spend it when he’s old enough.

What Manassero has done, winning the British Amateur at age 16 and becoming the youngest ever to make the cut at the Augusta Masters and now this, is marvelous but such feats by kids are becoming less marvelous all the time.

These lads can play. Plus, they have the advantage of an uncluttered mind. See it, sink it.

Ryo Ishikawa won the Munsingwear Open KSB Cup in his first appearance on the Japan Tour at the age of 15 and has won eight more times and he’s still only 19.

Earlier this year, he shot a 12-under-par 58 in a Japan Tour event, the lowest score ever on any major tour.

Ishikawa’s nickname in Japan is Hanikami Oji, which translated is Bashful Prince. Hey, 58 ain’t bashful.

Probably the best round of 2010, all things considered, was Rory McIlroy’s 62 on the last day of the Quail Hollow Championship and on the last day he was 20 years old.

He beat a powerful field on a tough golf course to win his first PGA Tour victory, and he did it spectacularly.

McIlroy and another hot young star, Rickie Fowler, wound up on opposing Ryder Cup teams in early October. Neither had a sensational week but Fowler, who is 21, provided a memorable moment when he birdied the last three holes to come back from 4 down in his singles match with Edoardo Molinari.

Fowler, only 5-9, 150-pounds but plenty long enough, has an interesting background – his maternal grandfather was Japanese, his maternal grandmother Navajo – and an interesting future.

Speaking of grandfathers, Johnny Miller was a 51-year-old grandfather fighting the putting yips when he won the 1994 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. Take that, limber-backs.