Guan Tianlang fires creditable 73 as youngest ever player to compete at the Masters
Last Updated: 12/04/13 5:53pm
Guan Tianlang: Superb performance from the 14-year-old at Augusta
Guan Tianlang created Masters history as he took over from Matteo Manassero as the youngest player ever to tee up at Augusta National.
The 14-year-old Chinese prodigy is also poised to emulate Manassero's feat of making the halfway cut after he opened with a highly-commendable one-over 73.
Guan looked firmly in control of his emotions and nerves as he split the fairway with his opening tee shot, although he missed the green with his approach and could not get up and down.
He got the shot back at the third only to bogey the seventh and ninth to turn in 38, but he then mixed two more dropped shots with two birdies before capping an excellent day with a closing three - holing a tricky putt from the fringe.
"I was a little bit nervous on the first tee but after a great tee shot on the third everything felt comfortable," said Guan, who played nine holes of practice with Tiger Woods earlier this week.
"I just want to enjoy the tournament and have some fun and hopefully play some good shots.
"It's like a dream come true. I played good golf. It just feels great. Today was pretty special for me," Guan said. "I did a pretty good job. People were nice, cheering for me, and I felt comfortable on the course."
And when asked if he could win the Masters, he replied modestly: "Probably not this year but one day in the future."
But British Amateur champion Alan Dunbar endured a horrific first day at Augusta, struggling to an 11-over 83 to end the day bottom of the 93-player field.
His troubles began with a triple-bogey eight at the second and he failed to record a par until the ninth as he turned in 46, although he salvaged some pride with an inward 37.
"I was just trying to stay positive," said the 22-year-old. "I didn't get off to an ideal start. I had trouble at the first and then trouble at the second and then I just kept leaving myself the wrong side of the hole on the front nine. I couldn't get going."