Sports / China

Teenager at forefront of golf drive

By Tang Zhe (China Daily) Updated: 2012-12-03 01:02

Guan Tianlang is expected to play a major role in getting more Chinese youngsters involved in golf.

The 14-year-old from Guangdong was the only amateur player at the Dongfeng Nissan Cup at the CTS Tycoon Club in Shenzhen.

According to Cheng Jun, assistant captain of Team China, members of the lineup were selected due to their domestic rankings, but Guan earned his berth through outstanding international performances.

"I think the organizers and the Chinese Golf Association want to give young players like Guan more opportunities to hone their skills," Cheng said. "They also would like him to become more well known through TV broadcasts. That will make him a role model to his peers and green hands.

"We were also eager to watch him play because we knew he was good, but didn't know much about him before this tournament. After watching him play, I found this 14-year-old boy has acquired the steadiness and concentration of an adult, and he has many qualities that are worth learning from for his peers and even elders."

Team Asia-Pacific captain Peter Thomson, a five-time winner of the British Open and a member of golf's Hall of Fame, has also shown strong interest in Guan.

"I was most anxious to see him in action, and I was richly rewarded by watching him today, because he was playing particularly well," the 83-year-old Australian said after watching Guan's first round on Friday. "He is an outstanding young golfer."

Thomson said the rise of promising young golfers in China was bound to boost the sport here.

"It should have a big impact," he said. "It has happened in other places where a sports champion has suddenly emerged in.

"That stimulates people to join and keeps on rolling and rolling on. So it's bound to stimulate golf in China."

Meanwhile, Cheng has called on more Chinese youngsters to pick up a club.

"As the economic condition of Chinese families is improving, the kids get more choices to play, and a lot of them have throw themselves into computer games, which is not cheap, and unhealthy," Cheng said. "Taking part in golf can help children to become healthy, concentrate more and improve their self control.

"I hope more kids will participate in golf, which happens outside in the sunshine. I also expect more golf courses to provide young kids with greater access to the sport."

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