Thursday, April 11, 2013

Great first round for Guan Tianlang, youngest player in Masters history

Posted By on 04.11.13 at 06:06 PM

Guan Tianlang, 14, of China, acknowledges the cheers after sinking a birdie putt on the 18th green at the Masters. To his left is a playing partner today, 61-year-old Ben Crenshaw.
  • AP Photo/Darron Cummings
  • Guan Tianlang, 14, of China, acknowledges the cheers after sinking a birdie putt on the 18th green at the Masters. To his left is a playing partner today, 61-year-old Ben Crenshaw.
Guan Tianlang, 14 and-a-half, birdied the 18th hole this afternoon to finish with a one-over-par 73 in the first round of the Masters at Augusta National. He's seven shots off the lead and three behind Tiger Woods, but he's in position to make tomorrow's cut.

Tianlang, of China, is the youngest player ever in the Masters—by two years and five months. He qualified for the tournament by winning the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship.

Guan's mother, Hongyu Liu, followed him around with an insulated lunch box packed with juice boxes, energy bars and bananas, according to Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports. "He forgets to eat," she said as she watched him take his final preround practice putts.

Tianlang's threesome included the previous youngest Masters contestant, Matteo Manassero of Italy, who was 16 years and 11 months when he played in the tournament in 2010. Manassero, now 19, shot a 75. Two-time Masters champion Ben Crenshaw, 61, the third player in the group, shot an 80.

Guan averages only 250 yards off the tee, about 40 yards less than the PGA average, so many doubted he'd break 80. But his short game is exceptional. He was two over on the front today and one under on the back. No word yet on whether the juice boxes and energy bars helped.

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