Golfweek's Top 10 of 2012: Guan wins Asian Am
24 Dec 2012
by Golfweek

see also: Guan Tianlang Rankings

Tianlang Guan
Tianlang Guan
By Ron Balicki, Golfweek

There were plenty of good stories that came out of amateur golf this past season, exciting, happy endings as well as disappointing, heart-breaking endings.

From Steven Fox winning the U.S. Amateur, to Nathan Smith capturing a record fourth U.S. Mid-Amateur to a 14-year-old from China qualifying for next year’s Masters -- and a whole lot more along the way.

I’ve been covering amateur golf at just about every level for some 30 years and it seems each year provides its own share of interesting stories, whether in victory or defeat.

Compiling a list of the best of them for 2012 was difficult, but here is a list of my top 10:

Golfweek's Top 10 Stories of 2012
  • No. 10: Guan wins Asian Am | Read
  • No. 9: Peter Williamson's Summer | Read
  • No. 8 Rhys Pugh's Comeback | Read
  • No. 7: Chris Williams' Western Am run | Read
  • No. 6: Daan Huizing wins Lytham Trophy | Read
  • No. 5: USA dominates World Am Team | Read
  • No. 4: T.J. Vogel wins U.S. Public Links | Read
10. Tianlang Guan wins Asian Amateur

It isn’t so much at China’s Tianiang Guan won the Asia-Pacific Amateur title at age 14, but more so what the victory will mean to the youngster come next spring.

The win earned the teenager an invitation to compete at the Masters in April at Augusta National Golf Club. When he tees it up in the first round on that Thursday, he will be 14 years, five months and 17 days old to become the youngest participant in tournament history. The previous record was held by Matteo Manassero in 2010 when the 16-year-old gained an invitation after capturing the 2009 British Amateur Championship.

Guan earned his Masters berth with a one-shot victory over Taiwan’s Cheng-Tsung Pan, after finishing at 15-under 273 (66-64-72-71) at Amata Spring Country Club in Bangkok, Thailand. He won wire-to-wire, leading by two shots after the first round, five shots at the halfway point and two shots heading into the final round. He was the youngest player in the field this week.

“I’m so excited. I’m really happy to become the youngest player at the Masters and looking forward to going there. I don’t know what’s going to happen there, but I know I just want to do well,” Guan said shortly after his win.

Guan is the first Asia-Pacific Amateur winner from China. He’ll be the second 14-year-old from China to appear in a major after Andy Zhang qualified for the 2012 U.S. Open.
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