With all the attention at this week’s Volvo China Open on 12-year-old Chinese qualifier Ye Wocheng, it was perhaps no surprise that he shot a 7-over-par 79 in Thursday’s first round. But these Chinese youngsters just keep coming… 16-year-old amateur, Dou Zecheng, shot a 2-under-par 70, and sits tied for 11th, four strokes off the lead.
Dou may not be as famous as fellow Chinese teens Guan Tianlang, who made the cut in this year’s Masters, or Andy Zhang, who qualified for last year’s US Open, but he’s been on the radar for a while. His best achievement to date was a fourth place finish in the stroke play section of last year’s US Junior Amateur Championship, though he lost in the Round of the 16 in the subsequent match play competition. He is currently the top ranked junior golfer of those set to graduate in 2015, and number 8 overall.
16-year-old Jim Liu, number 2 overall in the junior ranks, is also playing in Tianjin. He’s an American, born to Chinese parents, and became the youngest U.S. Junior Amateur champion in history in 2010 (beating Tiger Woods’ record), but struggled on the front nine on Thursday, hitting the turn in +6, and finished with a 5-over-par 77, and 15-year-old Bai Zhengkai posted an 11-over-par 83. Meanwhile, Andy Zhang is NOT playing: he pulled out this week through injury.
But take Dou’s round in isolation and it’s yet another example of a spectacular round by a Chinese youngster. Meanwhile, quote of the day goes to Ye Wocheng’s playing partner, Jose Manual Lara of Spain:
“It’s the first time I’ve played with a baby!”