Tianglang Guan didn’t have to play well today to impress his golfing peers.
At just 14-years-old, Guan became the youngest player to swing a golf club at The Masters when he teed off this morning at Augusta. Guan isn’t expected to keep pace throughout the weekend with the likes of Rory McIlroy or Tiger Woods but he’s already ahead of some of the game’s biggest names.
Woods said: “I mean, this kid can’t even play high-school golf. He’s not in high school yet. So it’s hard to believe. When I was 14, I was trying to play more (junior) tournaments and I was running track and cross-country, you know, trying to get homework done. I couldn’t imagine playing in not just a tour event, but the Masters.”
The young phenom finished his first round today at one over 73 and is currently listed at 46th on the Masters leaderboard. There’s still a little bit of golf left to play today but among those who have already finished, Guan is ahead of Nick Watney, Jamie Donaldson (who hit a hole in one today) and defending champion Bubba Watson.
Guan is still far behind the leaders. Sergio Garcia finished the day tied at 6 under with Marc Leishman. Tiger Woods finished the day at 2 under and Ernie Els finished one better than par.
Guan started the day with a bogie but got back on track with a birdie on the third hole. Guan would enter the 18th two over par but finished the day by hitting a long putt to put him one over for the first round.
Rory McIlroy, who finished the day at even par, said: “(Tianlang Guan) could potentially play in, I don’t know, 60 Masters? Yeah, it’s incredible.”