Guan aims for sweet 16 present at CIMB Classic

Fri 24 Oct 2014

Guan aims for sweet 16 present at CIMB Classic

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Kuala Lumpur, October 24: What were you doing around the time of your 16th birthday? Maybe you were beginning work on your college application forms or thinking about a trip to the mall with your friends. It is all but a guarantee that you weren’t preparing for your seventh event on the PGA TOUR!
That’s what Guan Tianlang is doing as he prepares for both his 16th birthday on 25 October as well as his appearance as a sponsor’s exemption at the CIMB Classic, co-sanctioned by PGA TOUR and Asian Tour, on 30 October-2 November.
Guan made his first appearance on the world stage at the Masters Tournament in 2013 at Augusta National Golf Club by making the cut at just 14 years old and finishing T53, becoming the youngest ever to do so. Since then, Guan has played in a number of PGA TOUR events, with the Masters still his best finish. In early 2013, he also made the cut in the Zurich Classic of New Orleans but missed the cut in the next several PGA TOUR events in which he played.
Putting those misses in the past, he is now looking forward to playing at the CIMB Classic, the PGA TOUR’s only official FedExCup event in Southeast Asia.
“It is an honour to get the exemption to play in the CIMB Classic. It is such a great tournament that I have always wanted to play. I have never played the course before so I am very excited about playing there for the first time,” Guan said.
“I know there will be plenty of top golfers from all over the world playing that week, and I hope to be a competition to them and get up there on the leaderboard -- the higher the better.”
“I am getting to know what to do on the TOUR,” Guan said. “I am watching the best players in the world, what are they doing, what they are playing, so I learned a lot from these stars.”
Since the Masters and the handful of PGA TOUR, Japan Golf Tour and European Tour events that followed, Guan has resumed his studies, returned to playing some junior amateur events and also spent some time practicing and working with golf instructor Sean Foley.
“My life is a bit different than normal kids because I have a second life that is golf. However, I think I am having a pretty balanced life since I still go to school and study, I do manage to practice golf as much as I can,” said Guan, who has made four PGA TOUR China Series’ starts this season, a tie for 24th at the Cadillac Championship in Beijing his top performance.
“I also enjoy my time as every other kid at my age, I love playing basketball and watching sports games, and I do it all the time with my friends. To me, playing at the tournaments are pretty much the same, I always get myself fully prepared and hope to do all I can to give my best performance. But of course, there are a lot of super talented players on the PGA TOUR and you always have so much to learn.”
Some might be satisfied by being the youngest ever to make the cut at one of the most prestigious events in all of golf. Guan, however, has shaken the urge to become complacent. If anything, the success at Augusta and the praise from players like Tiger Woods, Gary Player and many others in the golfing community has only fueled his fire to succeed.
In an interview with Coleman McDowell on Golf.Com, Foley said, “One of the most deliberate practice players I’ve ever seen is Tiger [Woods], but I’ve never seen anyone like Guan at this age. He may hit balls for two hours, but he might not hit more than 50 shots.”
“Because of school, I always practice at the driving range during the week and then get on course to play over the weekend,” Guan said. “I think I just love playing golf and once I am in the zone, I am focused. I just think how I can hit the ball as I want.”