As good as Guan Tianlang was on Thursday at the Masters – and he was very good – he’ll have to be every bit as good, perhaps better, on Friday to make the cut. His 1-over-par 73 leaves him tied for 46th place in a field of 94 players, and three shots clear of the next best amateur in the field.
Guan started the tournament priced at 30-1 to make the cut. He’s now at evens. Thanks to a rare rule change announced this week, he needs to finish tomorrow tied for 50th or better to play on Saturday and Sunday (previously it had been tied for 44th or better). He can also qualify if he is within 10 shots of the leader (he is currently 7 away), but you have to expect the leaderboard will stretch out on Day 2.
Guan had a balanced round of four birdies and five bogeys, with highlights including:
- Putts of 15 feet or more for birdie on 3rd, 13th and 18th holes
- An approach on 10th to 4 feet to make birdie
- Going in the water on 11th, but saving bogey after a great chip
As I’ve written elsewhere, his temperament proved to be his best quality. He’s had an enormous amount of attention on him this week, even going into the ESPN studio for a post-round interview, and that spotlight will only intensify on Friday. But he’s 14 going on 40, it seems, in terms of his maturity; either that or he’s too young to get nervous.
There was one indication on Thursday that he doesn’t actually have ice pumping through his veins: Guan normally drives the ball 240-250 yards, but averaged 276 yards for the round. It’s amazing what a bit of adrenaline can do…
For a full recap of Round 1, check out Stephanie Wei’s take here.