Guan Tian-Lang is going to make history this week when he plays in the European Golf Tour as the youngest player. The 13-year old boy will be teeing off at the Volvo China Open on Thursday.
Guan Tian-Lang started to play golf when he was only four-years old and won the 11-12 age group at the 2011 Callaway Junior World Championship in San Diego by 11 strokes which featured nine birdies. He then qualified for this week’s China Open by finishing fourth in the mid-China qualifying event in Hangzhou last month.
Guan Tian-Lang told the South China Morning Post, “I really couldn’t be happier. I’m so excited right now, it is like a dream come true. My goal now is to be the youngest player ever to make the cut in a European Tour event and I think if I can shoot level par or better I’ll have a good chance to do that.”
“I am really excited about playing. This is my biggest event and I really want to do well. I have never played on this course before until Monday. It is very windy and it might be a little bit long for me. I don’t know who I will be playing with yet but I would like to play with Poulter. He is a real character player,” Guan Tian-Lang told the Bangkokpost.
The 13-year old doesn’t let golf get in the way of his school work. He said, “I don’t take schoolwork with me when I travel. I just work very hard when I’m at school in Guangzhou. Actually I’m doing pretty well right now and my grades are high. My favorite subjects are English and PE.”
Alistair Polson, operations director of the Volvo China Open said, “Anyone who has seen Guan play would not rule him out from making the cut. He really is a talented young player. He displays a maturity well beyond his 13 years and doesn’t seem fazed by spectators or the media attention he has received.” He added, “Being a local player I expect he will receive a lot of attention next week so I hope he does well and gives the fans something to cheer about.”
The previous record was set by Lo Shik-kai, who was 13 years and 280 days when he played the 2003 Hong Kong Open. Guan Tian-Lang is 13 years and 173 days old.