In a word, no – at least not this year – but now that he’s made the cut, how well can he realistically do?
The field of 93 has been pared down to 61, with Guan beginning Round 3 ranked tied for 55th with 6 other players (otherwise known as last equal). Obviously just making the cut is outstanding, but a top 50 finish is now a real possibility.
Dropgate and the Tiger shenanigans will inevitably move the spotlight away from Guan – not that he showed any signs of being affected by it though – and the one thing Guan has been is consistent. He had 16 pars on Friday (though one was marked as a bogey after his farcical slow play penalty) and, despite playing in his first Masters tournament, he has probably played the course more times in 2013 than any other competitor.
He’s not the best player left in the field by any means – let’s wait a few years to see how good he can become – but he is an exceptional student of the game and right here, right now, he has some advantages over certain other players in the field. He’s just started his third round with three straight pars and two more rounds in the low 70s could see him steadily creep up the leaderboard.
[UPDATE: After a five-over-par 77 on Saturday, Guan slipped back to +9, and while he is no longer last, he’s currently in 59th place out of 61, with only Sandy Lyle and Keegan Bradley behind him. 2011 US PGA champion Bradley will go out first as a single to start Sunday’s final round, and Guan will partner Lyle in the second pairing. Hopefully the two-time major winner (’85 Open, ’88 Masters) will inspire Guan to take a run at the Top 50 (or else my prediction above will look a little silly!)]