Day 'amazed' at slow play penalty for teenage Guan
AUSTRALIA'S Jason Day took a one-shot lead into the third round of the 77th Masters today, and by doing so picked up thousands of new fans in China in particular.
Playing in the last group out on Friday, Day - who finished joint second in 2011 - carded a 68 to finish six under par, one shot clear of compatriot Marc Leishman and 53-year-old former champion Fred Couples.
And by failing to birdie the 17th or 18th, Day ensured Chinese schoolboy Guan Tianlang - the youngest player in Masters history - made the cut on four-over under the 10-shot rule, despite the 14-year-old earlier being penalised a shot for slow play.
"Wow, that's amazing," Day said when told of Guan's penalty on the 17th, which turned his 74 into a 75 and meant an anxious wait to see if he had made the cut.
"I felt like I played pretty slow out there, but we couldn't go any faster than the guys in front and they weren't too far ahead of us (the group in front containing Tiger Woods took five hours 45 minutes to play their rounds).
"When it means everything to you, you're going to try and do the best you can to play well. And whether that makes you discuss 10 seconds more or 20 seconds more on a shot, you're going to do it, because at the end of the day no one is really going to think about how slow you played if you win the tournament.
"I talked to him (Guan) earlier and he seems a really good kid. It's unfortunate that he received the penalty, but he can learn from that and move on and hopefully play well over the next two days."
The rules state that players will be told when they are out of position on the course, then advised they are being put on the clock and if they subsequently receive two "bad times", are liable to be penalised.
Guan was warned on the 10th, started being timed on the 12th and then took too long over his second shot to the 13th and approach to the 17th, with tournament officials stating he had "exceeded the 40-second time limit by a considerable margin".
"I respect the decision. This is what they can do," Guan told ESPN. "I think they should do it with respect to everybody."
John Paramor, the European Tour's chief referee who gave Guan the penalty, said: "I feel like that in those situations, any time they happen, that's my job. That is what I do."
Asked if Guan's age affected his decision, Paramor added: "No, because it is the Masters."