Growing pains: 13-year-old Chinese golfer hits 77 on European Tour debut

History-making golf prodigy Guan Tian-Lang struggles at China Open as Ireland’s Damien McGrane shoots 5-under

Guan Tian-Lang lets rip at the Volvo China Open
Guan Tian-Lang lets rip at the Volvo China Open
Image: Credit: PGA Tour

HE MAY BE the world junior champion but Guan Tian-Lang found playing with the older boys a mite tougher as he carded a first round score of 77 at the China Open.

Guan set a new record for the European Tour when he teed off in Tianjin on Thursday afternoon.

At 13-years-old and 177 days he is the youngest player ever on the tour – detonating the record set by Taiwan’s Lo Shih Kai (13 years and 280 days old at the Hong Kong Open in 2003).

The teenager took the world junior crown by 11 shots last year in San Diego and carded a first round 63 in the process

Guan will need a round of 67 or 68 to make the cut on Friday but has already set his sights on the US Open in June. He said:

I am really excited about playing. This is my biggest event and I really want to do well. After this tournament I think I want to try to qualify for the US Open.

He was 14 shots worse-off at the end of this opening round but will be pleased at a back nine that included consecutive pars.

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Teething problems

Guan began his day with a bogey on the first hole and parred the next two before disaster struck on the fourth. A wayward drive had him in trouble and he missed a 10-foot putt for bogey.

Further shots were dropped on five and six before the 13-year-old got a birdie on the seventh after an excellent iron shot from the fairway left him with a straightforward putt. He bogeyed the ninth but showed composure to finish with nine straight pars.

England’s Matthew Baldwin leads on -7 with Ireland’s Damien McGrane two back after hitting six birdies in a round of 67.

Colin Montgomerie and Paul Casey are -4. The other Irish golfers competing are Peter Lawrie (-3) and   Shane Lowry (-1).

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