Golf

Published: Wednesday December 4, 2013 MYT 9:32:00 PM
Updated: Wednesday December 4, 2013 MYT 9:35:24 PM

Golf prodigy ready to shine again in Hong Kong

China's Guan Tianling became the youngest golfer to make the halfway cut of a major when he qualified the final two rounds of The Masters this year at age of 14 years five months. He will compete in the Hong Kong Open starting this week. - AFP

China's Guan Tianling became the youngest golfer to make the halfway cut of a major when he qualified the final two rounds of The Masters this year at age of 14 years five months. He will compete in the Hong Kong Open starting this week. - AFP

HONG KONG (AFP): China's teenage golf star Guan Tianlang is confident he can replicate his success at the US Masters by making the cut at the Hong Kong Open this week.

The Guangzhou schoolboy sent shockwaves through the sport at Augusta in April when, aged just 14 years, five months and 18 days, he became the youngest golfer to make the weekend at a major tournament.

He followed up that sensational showing by making the final two rounds of the US PGA Tour's Zurich Classic in New Orleans a fortnight later.

Now, aged 15, he is expecting to play all 72 holes in his first appearance at the Hong Kong Open, which is co-sanctioned by the European Tour and Asian Tour.

"I'm going to enjoy the week and shoot some low scores," he told reporters in the southern Chinese city.

"I don't feel the pressure at all as I'm still doing the things that I've been doing and I feel comfortable.

"I've not set any targets for myself but if I can put four good rounds together I'll be happy," he added in comments Tuesday.

Apart from the Masters, Guan's only other appearance in a European Tour-related event came at the China Open when - aged just 13 - he failed to make it past the halfway stage.

Guan is being joined at the $1.3 million Hong Kong Open by local golfer Jason Hak, who set a record of his own at this event in November 2008 at the age of 14.

Hak became the youngest player to make the cut at a European Tour event - a record which Guan smashed at this season's first major.

Guan is hoping to make up for failing to defend his title at the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championships in October, at which South Korea's Lee Chang-Woo, 19, claimed victory and a place in the Masters - the first major of the year.

In the first two rounds Guan will play with America's John Daly and Thorbjorn Olesen of Denmark.

Spain's Miguel Angel Jimenez is the tournament favourite. The three-time Hong Kong Open winner is the highest-ranked player competing, at 48 in the world.

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