The four-time European Tour winner became the youngest player in history to win a European Tour title when he won Castelló Masters Costa Azahar in 2010 with his last European Tour coming in 2013 at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth Golf Club.
Although admitting it is difficult to compare his play to that of a decade ago, the Italian believes he is better equipped to handle the pressures of professional golf.
“Obviously the confidence is not as high as that (winning his four titles),” he said. “It’s really hard to compare where I am now to where I was back then, it was two different golfers.
“I know much more about myself, and I can handle myself a lot better now but if you talk about my game back then, I wasn’t missing a shot so there is differences but I’m working to find my own way and to just feel good under competition and under pressure, which is what I want really.”
The 28-year-old, who has recorded three top 20 finishes so far in the 2021 Road to Mallorca, is pleased with his performance on the first day in Denmark – with an 11-stroke swing from his first round at last week’s Made in Esbjerg Challenge.
“I’m really happy,” he added. “To be honest it was something that was a little bit unexpected with the last tournament being in easier conditions -last time I shot 11 shots more so it’s quite a difference.
“Obviously these few days of work have done me really good but I try to stay humble because this course is a really tough beast and there is a lot more golf to play.”
Eight competitors share fourth position including three-time European Challenge Tour winner Espen Kofstad, amateur Julien Sale of France, Ewen Ferguson of Scotland, Lucas Vacarisas of Spain and Harry Ellis of England.
The second round of the Sydbank Esbjerg Challenge will begin at 7:30am local time, with Manassero teeing it up alongside Englishman Jonathan Thomson and Hinrich Arkenau of Germany.
Scores after round one:
66 M MANASSERO (ITA),
67 A HIDALGO (ESP), J BRUN (FRA),
68 E FERGUSON (SCO), L RUUSKA (FIN), I SAULO (FIN), J SALE (AM) (FRA), L VACARISAS (ESP), E KOFSTAD (NOR), H ELLIS (ENG), M ROTTLUFF (GER),
69 O FARRELL (ENG), S FERNANDEZ (ESP), H R?NNEBLAD (SWE), B WINDRED (AUS), L JENSEN (DEN), I CANTERO GUTIERREZ (ESP), C ROSS (SCO), U COUSSAUD (FRA), K JOHANNESSEN (NOR),
70 J K?LBING (GER), J SUGRUE (IRL), R DE SOUSA (SUI), R GOUVEIA (POR), J JONES (CAN), M GRADECKI (POL),
71 V MEYER (GER), J DANTORP (SWE), C BLOMSTRAND (SWE), M HELLIGKILDE (DEN), J FAHRBRING (SWE), A KNAPPE (GER), M LUNDBERG (SWE), J FREIBURGHAUS (SUI), J MURPHY (IRL), J YATES (IRL), H GODDARD (ENG), A ARIZABALETA (COL), V PASTOR (ESP), A GARCIA-HEREDIA (ESP), N M?LLER (DEN), E BERTHEUSSEN (NOR), M ORRIN (ENG), M ROHWER (RSA), T CLEMENTS (ENG), N KRISTENSEN (DEN),
72 P MCBRIDE (IRL), P EDBERG (SWE), H DU PLESSIS (RSA), L NEMECZ (AUT), N REGNER (AUT), F PALSON (SWE), J WIKSTROM (SWE), G BOURDY (FRA), J GARCIA (ESP), D FOOS (GER), M MADSEN (DEN), D BOOTE (WAL), S MANLEY (WAL), J GIRRBACH (SUI), F MACCARIO (ITA), C CANNON (ENG), N TINNING (DEN), H BROWN (AM) (DEN), B PETURSSON (ISL),
73 P BAEK (DEN), N JOHANSSON (SWE), A PLANT (ENG), V RIU (FRA), C HOWIE (SCO), H ARKENAU (GER), O GILLBERG (SWE), T BALTL (AUT), B RUSCH (SUI), J KAHLOS (FIN), D KEMMER (USA), J LANDO CASANOVA (FRA), C BERARDO (FRA), B NEIL (SCO), H LONG (GER), S GREGORY (ENG), C MIVIS (BEL), S FRIEDRICHSEN (AM) (DEN), P KUEST (USA),
74 O HUNDEB?LL (DEN), H MAGNUS (ISL), G KRISTJANSSON (ISL), T WIDING (SWE), M BREMNER (RSA), F LACROIX (FRA), L SCALISE (ITA), M WIEGELE (AUT), O LINDELL (FIN), A AHOKAS (FIN), P NYHOLM (SWE), A HOST (DEN), S WIIS (DEN), T MURRAY (ENG), M ELVIRA (ESP), B SCHMIDT (ENG), T ROSENM?LLER (GER), N KIMSEY (ENG), A DEL REY (ESP), G BOYD (ENG), S SAAVEDRA (ARG), A BJORNSSON (ISL), C SAHLSTROM (SWE),
75 J KENNEGARD (SWE), J KO (FRA), C BRING (DEN), D HUIZING (NED), F DAUX (FRA), J LONG (ENG), A WILSON (ENG), M HOEY (NIR), R DAWSON (IRL), Y PAUL (GER), B HUTCHINSON (ENG),
76 M ORTOLANI (ITA), E LIPPARELLI (ITA), R CONRADIE (RSA), M SIMONSEN (DEN), R KAKKO (FIN), K KOIVU (FIN), S DEL VAL (ESP), B GILL (ENG), J ARNOY (NOR), S HENRY (SCO), B VIRTO (ESP), D BORDA (ESP), C O’ROURKE (IRL),
77 P L?NGFORS (SWE), J SVENSSON (SWE), R PETERSSON (SWE), G BLOOR (ENG), A JOHN (GER), J AXELSEN (DEN), T BESSA (POR),
78 H SHERIDAN – MILLS (ENG), D QUINONES (USA), S FORSSTR?M (SWE), R WILLIAMS (ENG), M EGGENBERGER (SUI), L KEUNEN (NED),
79 M GALIANO AGUILAR (ESP), J FLOYDD (ENG), D JENNEVRET (SWE), A AHOUA (FRA), J SORENSEN (AM) (DEN), E DI NITTO (ITA), I FONS PELUFO (ESP),
80 C PURCELL (IRL), M LINDBERG (SWE), J THOMSON (ENG), E ROUSAUD (ESP), K ULENAERS (BEL),