Tianlang Guan of China made history on Friday by becoming the youngest golfer ever to make the cut at the Masters Tournament, despite earning a one-stroke penalty for slow play.
Guan, a 14-year-old eighth grader, already made history this week by being the youngest player to ever tee off at the Masters. By finishing 4-over par on Friday, he became the youngest player to make the cut at a major event since 1900, according to ESPN Stats & Info.
“I made it,” he said Friday on his Weibo account, China’s version of Twitter. “I hope I can make more miracles, more dreams come true. I want to thank my parents and everyone who cared, supported and helped me.”
He ended his first day with a score of 73, one stroke over par, sending a notice to the field that he wasn’t just a novelty entrant in this year’s tournament.
On Friday, Guan finished 3-over par at 75, including a somewhat controversial one-stroke penalty for slow play that was assessed on the 17th hole.
“Tianlang Guan was assessed a one-shot penalty for violation of Rule 6-7 of the Rules of Golf and the Tournament’s Pace of Play Policy,” said Fred Ridley, the Masters Tournament competition committee chairman, in a statement. “His group, which included Ben Crenshaw and Matteo Manassero, was deemed out of position on No. 10. Guan began being timed on No. 12 and received his first warning on No. 13 after his second shot. In keeping with the applicable rules, he was penalized following his 2nd shot on the 17th hole when he again exceeded the 40-second time limit by a considerable margin.”
According to Gene Wojciechowski of ESPN.com, Guan is believed to be the first player in the history of the Masters ever penalized for slow play.
After finishing his round on Friday, he spoke with ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi about the penalty, saying that the weather influenced the time he spent before taking certain shots.
“I think I just changed my routine before the Masters, and the routine is good, but I think today is pretty hard because if you’re timed only 40 seconds, it’s pretty hard because you need to make the decision,” Guan said. “The wind switched a lot, but that’s [the same] for everybody.”
Guan said that he “respected the decision” of Masters officials assessing the one-stroke penalty.
Crenshaw, Guan’s playing partner on Thursday and Friday, told reporters after the second round that he was “sick” for the 14-year-old.
“When you get the wind blowing out here, believe me, you’re going to change your mind a lot,” Crenshaw said.
At the Masters, players within 10 strokes of the leader get to play on through the weekend. After being assessed the one-stroke penalty and finishing his round, Guan returned to the clubhouse and had to pray that the tournament leader wouldn’t finish more than six strokes under par.
Jason Day, the tournament leader after the second day, finished exactly 6-under.
And thus, Guan earned the right to keep on playing, slow-play penalty and all.
UPDATE (4/12, 9:00 pm): Guan ended up finishing the Masters with a total score of 12-over, a mere 21 strokes out of first place.
He also became the youngest amateur in the history of the tournament to win the Silver Cup, which is awarded each year to the so-called “low amateur” (the lowest-finishing amateur golfer in the field).
Not bad for a kid who hasn’t even reached high school.
Photo: Amateur Guan Tianlang, 14, watches a shot during the third round of the Masters golf tournament on Saturday in Augusta, Ga. (Charlie Riedel/AP)
A version of this news article first appeared in the Schooled in Sports blog.