14 year old stuns Asia-Pacific Amateur
BY Bruce Young | World Amateur Tour | 2012 Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship | Round Two | 03 Nov 2012
The Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship completed its opening 36 holes today with yet another remarkable performance by the recently turned 14 year old Guan Tiang Lang.
Guan, from Gunadong in southern China, has recorded 17 birdies in his opening 36 holes and at 14 under par the World Junior Champion leads by five shots over Thailand’s Prin Sirisommai and Australian Oliver Goss.
After his opening round of 64 yesterday many expected that the situation might get the better of the youngster. Instead Guan went the other way immediately adding to his two shot overnight advantage with birdies at his opening two holes and building further on that lead before his first bogey of the day at his final hole of round two, the 9th.
Guan led by five when the morning group had finished their rounds on day two, his closest rival at that stage being Sirisommai who until a double bogey at the last had looked as if he might be the only one to seriously challenge Guan at the completion of day two.
“My feeling with the putter is fantastic and that’s why I’ve got a low score," said Guan after his round. "I think I had 25 putts yesterday and maybe it was a little lower today, perhaps 22, as I had two chip-ins. Guan won the 11-12 division in last year’s Junior World Golf Championships in San Diego, USA.
“I had two birdies in the first two holes and felt very comfortable after that. I just kept going and I’m happy I only made one bogey.”
Guan now has his eyes on the prizes. The Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship offers the winner one of the game’s most significant amateur titles and an invitation to next year’s Masters Tournament, while the champion and runner(s)-up earn spots in International Final Qualifying (IFQ) for The Open Championship.
“Everyone here wants to win and go to Augusta. That would be amazing, but for now I need to focus on my game this weekend,” added Guan, who lives in China but who trains in California each summer.
“To be leading the tournament is good for me and good for Chinese golf, especially as China will be hosting the event next year.”
Prin Sirisommai gave the home country hopes of producing its first winner of the Asia Pacific Amateur Championship when he raced to 7 under par though just seven holes of round two. A wild drive at the last led to a double bogey but at 9 under he will ensure plenty of local interest tomorrow.
“I’m not worried about setting records and I’m not too excited about my score, I’m just concentrating on my game,” said Prin, who played the course for the first time on Tuesday, like most of the visiting players.
“I’m very proud to be playing in this tournament in Thailand. It’s very good and well organised, and I like everything from the food to the hotel, and meeting a lot of international players.”
In the afternoon group was one of the most impressive young players Australia has seen since the heady amateur days of Jason Day. Last week 18 year old Oliver Goss won the PGA Tour of Australasia’s West Australian Open, a week after making the cut at the European Tour’s Perth International.
After a solid opening round of 70 yesterday Goss eagled the 2nd, then birdied the 8th, 9th, 11th, 13th and 15th holes to move to 9 under and into a share of second with with Sirisommai. Three pars to finish saw Goss finish with a round of 65 and at 9 under he had moved within striking distance of Guan.
“Guan must be a good player, to be 14 under at 14 years old," remarked Goss after his round. "I didn’t shoot those scores when I was that young.
“He’s playing well, so congrats to him, but I guess maybe his composure might disappear on the weekend if the pressure starts to build, which hopefully I can take advantage of, having a bit more experience.
“I’ve driven it well the last two days. I’ve got both my shapes working, which is definitely a help with the wind being a cross breeze on most holes, so I think my driving is going to be important on the weekend
Pre tournament favourite Hideki Matsuyama is at 4 under and although a massive ten shots from the lead he is just five shots out of second place and within striking distance should the leader struggle over the weekend.
The Australasian contingent have several chances of a good weekend with Victorian Nathan Holman’s second round of 64, the equal best of the day, moving him into a share of 5th with last year’s runner-up Soo-min Lee from Korea.
Queenslander Cameron Smith and New Zealander Vaughan McCall share 7th with Matsuyama, New Zealander Daniel Pearce, who was one of the early leaders yesterday, is in a share of 10th, NSW’s Brett Drewitt is 12th along with Victorian James McMillan and New Zealander Blair Riordan, New Zealander Peter Lee is 33rd, Tasmanian Open champion Ricky Kato and New Zealander James Beale are 54th and New Zealand’s Compton Pikari 58th.
All twelve of the Australasians therefore have made the cut restricted to the leading 60 and ties.
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