AUGUSTA, Georgia (April 11, 2013) -- Of all the impressive scores signed for Thursday at Augusta National, Tianlang Guan’s 1-over 73 may take the cake.
Just 14, Guan is the low amateur after Round 1 at The Masters. He staked his claim to that lofty designation with an impressive round that put him tied for 46th alongside reigning U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson, Steve Stricker and Keegan Bradley and ahead of many notable players including defending Masters champion Bubba Watson and Ian Poulter.
Guan opened with a bogey on the par-4 1st but quickly rebounded with a birdie on No. 3. He went out at 2-over. Birdies on the par-4 10th and par-5 13th countered bogeys on 11 and 14 but it was how Guan closed his opening round that made his presence known.
After his approach landed in the fringe just short of the pin on the par-4 closing hole, Guan holed out for birdie, prompting applause from the crowd and even playing partner Ben Crenshaw, a two-time Masters winner.
Guan qualified for The Masters by winning the 2012 Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship and is the youngest player the event has ever seen. Incidentally, Matteo Manasserro, who previously held the title of youngest Masters participant, was in Guan’s group.
Steven Fox, the 2012 U.S. Amateur Champion is three shots behind Guan in the race for low amateur. Fox opened with a 4-over 76.
Four-time U.S. Mid-Amateur Champion Nathan Smith, who’s playing in his third Masters, shot 5-over 77 and is tied with defending U.S. Public-Links Champion T.J. Vogel.
Michael Weaver, who earned a spot in The Masters field by placing second to Fox at last year’s U.S. Amateur, shot a 6-over 78 in Round 1.
Defending British Amateur winner Alan Dunbar is in after Round 1 at 11-over 83.