Guangzhou teen makes cut at Masters
Seasoned pros shake their heads in wonder as 14-year-old Guangzhou boy shrugs off penalty to stroke to reach last two days at Augusta
Chinese schoolboy Guan Tianlang rocked the golfing world by making the cut at the 77th Masters despite being penalised one shot for slow play in the second round.
But he needed to endure an agonising wait of several hours until the final grouping came in to be sure that he had survived.
The 14-year-old from Guangzhou, who is the youngest player in Masters history, was sanctioned as he played the 17th hole. That meant he came in with a three-over par 75 and stood at four-over 148 after 36 holes.
Making the cut were the top 50 and level plus all players within 10 strokes, and with the halfway lead later established at six-under 138, Guan was safely through, right on the limit, to play this weekend.
He became the youngest to play this weekend at the Masters and he is the first player from the mainland to make the cut in the year's first major.
Guan is also certain to win the Silver Cup, which goes to the top amateur who completes 72 holes, as his five amateur rivals all failed to make the cut. The Asian prodigy became the youngest player in the history of the Masters on Thursday when he carded a one-over 73 that included four birdies and five bogeys.
On Friday, he dropped two shots at the fourth and seventh, as heavy rain fell on Augusta National, to reach the turn in 38.
But with the weather brightening, he then calmly picked his way around the fearful Amen Corner - holes 11, 12 and 13 - without dropping a stroke.
He was parring his way in from there when referee John Paramor walked on to the course after Guan had played his second shot and informed him of the penalty sanction, having warned him already on the 13th hole.
"I played pretty good today," Guan said after his round, before he knew he had made the cut. "I know the rules pretty good. This is what they can do."
Guan became the first player punished for slow play in a major since Frenchman Gregory Bourdy at the 2010 PGA Championship.
"This still is a wonderful experience for me," Guan said.
"I have enjoyed playing in the Masters and I think I did a pretty good job."
Playing partner Matteo Manassero said he had sympathy with Guan given the gusting winds that affected Augusta National on Friday, but he agreed that the youngster had been slow to play.
"I think it's the biggest thing he needs to be careful about, because I think he's ready," the Italian said.
"When the caddie pulls the club for him, I think he's ready. But he just sometimes … takes a little too long. He just asks questions that I think he knows, as well, but just to be sure, just to be clear in his mind.
"This certainly will be a very valuable lesson. He will never forget it for sure, and he will learn from it."