Bogeys dampen thrill over golf teen prodigy Guan Tianlang at Fanling
15-year-old from Guangzhou falls apart in last four holes, undoing all his good work earlier
On the opening day of a tournament that has gone from Who's Who to Who's That, Chinese sensation Guan Tianlang brought a welcome whiff of excitement early in the day when he stormed to five-under after a flawless first 11 holes.
The 15-year-old amateur from Guangzhou, who caught the attention of the world's media at the Masters in April when he became the youngest player to make the cut in PGA Tour history - he was then 14 years and five months - was on fire and the Hong Kong Golf Club was abuzz with anticipation.
But it all went horribly wrong as Guan fell apart in the last four holes, recording a bogey-bogey-bogey-triple bogey to undo all the good work and finish on one-over par 71.
"I had problems with my swing towards the end and drove into the rough on a couple of occasions. But I will still take this," said Guan, who will be hoping to make the cut today.
Guan was in good company. He was in the same flight as John Daly, who had an even harder first round, carding a poor eight-over 78. If Guan thought he was doing badly at his final hole, the par-four ninth - he started on the 10th hole - he only had to look across to Daly, who shot a quadruple bogey.
"He is a pretty good guy and it was nice to play in his company," said Guan politely.
He did not have time to worry about his illustrious opponent's problems having enough of his own. Yet, he showed that despite his tender years, he has a wise head on his shoulders as he immediately dissected his problems.
"I'm a little bit disappointed. But this is golf. These things happen. I felt good at the start and gave myself an opportunity and made a lot of birdies in my first few holes before it all went wrong. But it is okay," shrugged Guan.
Wisely, he did not want to ponder too long over his mistakes and misfortune. With the buoyancy of youth, he was already looking forward to the second round.