FESJC adds teenage phenom to field
Memphis, TN-International amateur sensation Guan Tianlang, the 14-year old golfer from China who recently became this youngest player in the history of the Masters Tournament, has accepted a sponsor’s exemption to play in the FedEx St. Jude Classic.
Not only did Guan qualify for the Masters, the remarkable youngster made the cut and finished as the low-amateur, impressing many of the sport’s top players and adding quickly to his lore as one of the rapidly rising stars in the world.
FESJC officials believe he will be the youngest player to ever play in the FESJC.
“Guan’s invitation was a no-brainer,” said FESJC tournament director Phil Cannon. “He certainly has made a big splash in the sports world. And we are excited our fans will get to witness history. It’s remarkable that he did not have a three-putt green in 72 holes at Augusta.”
Guan will be among the 156-player field in the $5.7 million championship, June 3-9, at TPC Southwind. As an amateur, he will not be eligible for prize money, but the FESJC will serve as another important step in his development, and give Mid-South golf fans a chance to see a potential superstar in the infancy of his career.
Among his impressed observers at the Masters was Tiger Woods, a four-time winner of the green jacket and current No. 1 in the World Golf Rankings.
“He’s not in high school yet,” Woods said, during a press conference at Augusta National. “When I was 14, I was running track and cross country and trying to get homework done. I couldn’t imagine playing in a TOUR event, but the Masters? For a 14-year old to be able to come out here and handle himself the way he’s done is just unbelievable.”
Guan earned an invitation to the Masters by winning the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship in Chonburi, Thailand last November. The victory came at a time when he was ranked 490th in the world amateur rankings. (Currently, he is ranked 80th.)
In the first round at Augusta National Golf Club, he shot 1-over-par 73, and followed with 75-77-75 for 12-over-par 300, finishing 58th. Guan became the youngest player to make a cut in PGA TOUR history and also the youngest to make a cut in a major championship.He was 14 years and 5 months old at the time.
As a result of his sudden ascent to international status, Guan was invited to the Zurich Classic in New Orleans where he opened with 72-69 and made the cut and went on to finish 71st.