Wednesday 13 December 2017

Chinese schoolboy Guan set to test timekeepers

Karl MacGinty

CHINESE schoolboy Tianlang Guan could give PGA Tour rules officials a headache at this week's Zurich Classic of New Orleans.

Guan, just 14, made history at Augusta National by becoming the youngest player to compete at the Masters and make the halfway cut at the Majors.

Sensationally, he also was penalised a stroke during the second round at Augusta for unforgivably slow play, then received another slow time the following day.

Guan's biggest problem is that he copies the 'stop the world' pre-shot routines of his tour heroes but doesn't know the tricks practised by pro golf's most notorious slowcoaches when they're on the clock.

Unless he is an incredibly quick learner, Guan is likely to put to the test this week the PGA Tour's 'proud' record (heck, it's a policy) of not docking shots for slow play since Glen Day was penalised at the Honda Classic in 1995.

Shane Lowry also received a sponsor's invite to New Orleans, where the Clara man once again tries to make his dreams of a career on the US Tour come true.

The lure of America has become almost irresistible to Europe's finest, with hot Danish prospect Thorbjorn Olesen and Spanish gent Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano both deciding in recent days to take out special temporary membership of the PGA Tour.

Olesen, at 23 the same age as Rory McIlroy, underscored his rapid adjustment to new Nike equipment by rebounding from a 78 on Thursday at Augusta to tie sixth in his first Masters.

Of the 17 Europeans in the world's top 50, 14 are members of the US circuit, with Scot Paul Lawrie and Italian duo Francesco Molinari and Matteo Manassero the only exceptions.

Walker Cup ace Alan Dunbar, the reigning British Amateur champion, makes his professional debut tomorrow in the Challenge de Madrid, a European Challenge Tour event at El Encin Golf Hotel.

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