Guan Tianlang*, 14, was excused from doing homework for a few days last week. After all, the eighth-grader from China was busy making history: He became the youngest player ever to compete in golf’s Masters tournament.
Tianlang was one of only six amateur golfers who earned an invitation to play in the professional tournament at Georgia’s Augusta National Golf Club. He hit his first competitive shot on Thursday alongside American golf legend Ben Crenshaw, his partner for the first two rounds.
On Friday, Tianlang made Masters history again when he became the youngest player ever to “make the cut.” To make the cut in a golf tournament means to play well enough to be allowed to continue on to the final rounds. The 50 players with the lowest scores (the lower your golf score, the better) plus anyone within 10 strokes of the leader make the cut at the Masters.
Australia’s Adam Scott won the Masters on Sunday. Tianlang placed 58th out of 93 golfers, 61 of whom made the cut (Tianlang was the only amateur to do so). He was named Low Amateur (the amateur with the lowest score), for which he received the Silver Cup. He also gained legions of fans.
“I had a lot of fun,” says Tianlang. “I was honored to be here.”
A LEGEND IN THE MAKING
Tianlang’s father introduced him to golf when he was only 4 years old. He began winning amateur tournaments in China at age 11.
Last November, Tianlang won the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship as the youngest player in the field. That victory earned him his invite to the Masters.
During Masters week, Tianlang got to practice with his idol, Tiger Woods. He impressed Woods, as well as many other seasoned golfers, with his game and his calm demeanor.
“He can’t play for his high school team because he’s in middle school, [but] now he’s in the Masters,” Woods told reporters. “That’s pretty amazing.”
Tianlang is considering competing in other American tournaments. He also plans to play again in the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship in October.
“I am going to try very hard to win that tournament again,” he told reporters. “I would be really happy to come back [to the Masters].”
*NOTE: Chinese names traditionally place a person’s family name before their first name. So, “Guan” is actually Tianlang’s last name.