For Tianlang Guan, the 14-year-old Chinese golf phenom who made worldwide headlines when he played in The Masters in April, the streak of consecutive cuts made has ended at two.
Playing at the HP Byron Nelson Championship in Irving, Tx. this week, Guan shot a seven-over-par 77 on Friday, and will not be playing this weekend. After shooting a level-par 70 in Thursday’s first round, Guan finished the event at +7. Conditions were more difficult in Friday’s second round, as winds were higher and more difficult to judge for many players. Guan made only two birdies on Friday, to go along with two double-bogeys and five bogeys.
To Guan’s credit, he seems to be taking everything in stride that his new fame brings. When asked about his round on Friday, Guan said, “I just think I learned a lot in these two rounds and just didn’t play my best out there today, and I still learned a lot. Still have a lot more to learn.” If that’s how he actually feels, then he’s way ahead of the curve as far as the mental aspect of the game goes.
What’s next for Guan, though? He’s been in the United States since before the Masters, practicing his game between tournaments. He has yet to commit to any more PGA Tour events, but although he said he has “a couple of invites”, there’s no set schedule for when, or if, we’ll see him again this year.
The US Open would certainly be a tempting event to try to qualify for; honestly, I’m not sure that’s the best move for him. The cuts he’s made at Augusta National and TPC Louisiana are still quite impressive, but the US Open is perhaps the most difficult challenge for any golfer, regardless of age or experience. If he qualifies for the event, playing that type of track can be a disheartening experience for anybody, much less a player old enough to drive a Titleist, but not old enough to drive a car. He seems to have his head on right, but we have to remember, he’s still just a kid, with plenty of golf in his future if he wants it.
Whatever happens, you can be sure that wherever Tianlang Guan turns up next, the eyes of the golf world will follow.