Chinese teenager Guan already too cool for school

Fri Dec 7, 2012 1:32am EST
 

By Nick Mulvenney

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Few issues in the world of golf arouse more excitement than the potential of the Chinese market and schoolboy Guan Tianlang is learning fast that every promising talent from the country is going to be subject to intense scrutiny.

The 14-year-old showed that he might just have the temperament to deal with that expectation when he posted a round of two-under par 70 at the Australian Open on Friday and earned a practice date with Tom Watson at next year's U.S. Masters.

Guan ensured he would become the youngest player ever to compete at Augusta by winning the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship last month and many predict it will not be his last visit to a major.

"He's the best kid I've seen anywhere ... I think he'll be the first Chinese major winner," Danny Webb, who has been coaching Guan since he was six, told Reuters by telephone from Shenzhen.

"He makes adjustments to pressure. You don't see very often where he's affected by pressure. And when he is, he adjusts very quickly.

"Most golfers don't have that kind of confidence until they're 30. He's unique this way."

It is a common refrain from those who surround Guan and, even if he missed the cut in Sydney, he impressed with the way he rebounded from the disappointment of a first round 82 in high winds at The Lakes.

"I felt very comfortable today, I got some good shots and I made more birdies," Guan told Reuters in an interview after he had enjoyed a post-round lunch.   Continued...

 
Guan Tian-Lang of China watches his shot during the Championship Pro-Am of the Volvo China Open at Binhai Lake Golf Club in Tianjin municipality, April 20, 2012. REUTERS/Paul Lakatos/OneAsia/Handout