Sports / Golf

Teammates full of praise for prodigy

By Tang Zhe in Shenzhen (China Daily) Updated: 2012-12-03 05:11

Teammates full of praise for prodigy

Chinese teen Guan Tianlang has been highly praised by his teammates at the Ryder Cup-style OneAsia Nissan Cup tournament in Shenzhen.

The 14-year-old, who became the third Chinese player to earn a spot at the US Masters after veteran Zhang Lianwei and Liang Wenchong, was paired with Liang at the three-day event between Team China and Team Asia-Pacific.

The duo lost to Asia-Pacific's Scott Laycock and Andre Stolz in Friday's four-ball event, but turned it around to contribute a point to the Chinese team by defeating Japan's Yosuke Tsukada and Soushi Tajima in Saturday's foursomes.

The partnership provided time for Liang to take a closer look at Guan's play.

"This is my first time pairing with Guan and I feel he is already mature and steady in every aspect of his play," said the 34-year-old, who received an invitation to play at the Masters in 2008. "I was amazed by his skill and what he can do at the age of 14. It gives me the feeling that the young generation is rising rapidly."

When asked what he had learned from Liang during their pairing, Guan said Liang had helped him calculate yardage to the green. However, the veteran said Guan was smart enough to play in his own way on the course.

"I told him that there is no need for him to learn from me, instead, he should just play his own way and try to perfect it," Liang said. "I believe, with his body growing stronger, Langly will become a complete golfer. He is just short of physical power and lacks hitting distance now.

"Langly is the brightest young player in China, and we all hope he will have a great future," Liang said. "Being the youngest golfer to play at the Masters is a major achievement and I hope Langly will disregard that burden and enjoy the event to get more experience. He will benefit a lot from it."

Zhang, the first Chinese to win on the European Tour, and the first to compete at the Masters, expects more talented golfers to emerge in China in the not-too-distant future.

"Feng Shanshan has proved herself by being one of the highest ranked players in the women's world rankings and we are also improving fast on the men's side, but our opponents are so strong and we have to make greater efforts," said the 47-year-old. "Guan has distinguished himself by achieving qualification to play at the Masters at the age of 14 and we hope there will be more prodigies like him in the future."


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