(Reuters) - Asian golf’s crop of talented teenagers delivered another record on Friday when 14-year-old Ren Okazaki became the youngest player to make the cut in a Japan Golf Tour event.
The schoolboy fired a second round seven-over par 79 at the Tokai Classic in Aichi Prefecture to finish in a tie for 49th on six-over 150 at the Miyoshi Country Club.
Okazaki, who opened the 120,000,000 yen ($1.23 million) event with a one-under 71, bettered the previous mark held by Japan’s favorite golfing son Ryo Ishikawa, who was 15 years and eight months when he won the 2007 Munsingwear Open.
Despite seven bogeys, five of which came on the back nine, Okazaki finished two shots inside the cut line and said the pressure had played a part down the stretch.
“I was conscious of the cutline and I tightened up,” Okazaki was quoted as saying by the Kyodo news agency.
“This is no setup for amateurs. I want play without concern for fatigue over the final two days.”
He trails tournament leader Yusaku Miyazato by 10 shots but the achievements by the schoolboy, who celebrates his 15th birthday next month, put him amongst an elite group of Asian teenagers making their name in the golfing world.
Reigning Asia-Pacific Amateur Champion Guan Tianling was the talk of Augusta in April when the 14-year-old Chinese become the youngest competitor at the U.S. Masters and made the cut.
In May, 12-year-old compatriot Ye Wocheng became the youngest player to take part on the European Tour when he missed the cut at the Volvo China Open.
($1 = 97.2900 Japanese yen)
Writing by Patrick Johnston in Singapore; Editing by John O'Brien