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A time for Guan to reflect

By Garrett Johnston in Augusta, Georgia | China Daily | Updated: 2013-04-16 08:03

A time for Guan to reflect

Adam Scott of Australia celebrates with his green jacket after winning the Masters at the Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia, on Sunday. [Photo/Agencies]

A time for Guan to reflect

Chinese teenager looks back on a great week at hallowed Augusta

The US Masters ended on Sunday with Adam Scott seizing Australia's first major US green jacket in dramatic fashion. He shot a final round 3-under 69 to claim his first major championship and be hailed the nation's hero.

During all of this, Guan Tianlang finished his amazing journey to the US Masters in the Butler Cabin with Scott, Bubba Watson, Masters Chairman Billy Payne and the CBS' Jim Nantz.

For finishing as the tournament's low amateur he received the Silver Cup.

What an accomplishment for the young 14-year-old.

On Sunday, Guan had a chance to reflect on his time on the hallowed grounds of Augusta.

"The whole week is great for me," Guan said. "I really enjoy it."

Guan took on one of the longest courses that golfers face all year, yet he was certainly up to the task.

"It's not easy to play here," Guan said, "To make the cut and be low amateur, I think I did a pretty good job this week and can't believe it's over."

But where does Guan and his father, Guan Hanwen, go from here with his practice and the setting of new objectives?

"It's up to him," the father said. "He has his own ideas and his own opinions. He wants to play where he can get more opportunities, and it's totally up to him."

So what are the plans to finance his son's future endeavors in golf?

"It's free to play in China," Hanwen said. "All tournaments in China for juniors are free."

The younger Guan said he expected invitations to a few tournaments following his play this week. In the meantime, they will look at what might be good for his schedule. He still has school, as we all know. Even on Sunday night, he mentioned he still had homework to finish.

But beyond this seminal moment of great amateur success, what about the idea of this youngster turning pro at some point?

"I've not decided yet," Guan said. "But it won't be too early because there's still a lot of things to learn and improve on. So there's no rush."

K.J. Choi is a Korean golfer whose performances have influenced many of his fellow countrymen. He enjoyed watching Guan over the past week and sees much potential in him.

"It looks like he swings very well," Choi told China Daily, "Good challenges ahead. His future is very bright."

The 2012 US Masters champion, Bubba Watson, also spoke highly of Guan.

"What he did was just amazing," Watson said. "I don't know what he shot today. But it doesn't really matter what he shot over the weekend ... making the cut is a big deal."

Ryan Moore is no stranger to playing well at the amateur level. He won the 2002 US Amateur, Western Amateur, US Public Links Championship and NCAA Championship at the age of 19. He thought Guan exceeded most expectations with his performance during the Masters.

"It's spectacular just to come here and compete," Moore told China Daily. "Honestly, to break 80 would have been impressive, let alone make the cut. To play well under that little bit of scrutiny he was getting about timings is great. Obviously, he held his composure and played well, and it's impressive."

As Guan walked up the 18th green on Sunday afternoon at arguably the most famous golf course in the world, he was greeted by great cheers from the patrons.

Guan, as is custom, took off his cap and acknowledged the fans.

"I think this is (only) my first time to play in front of all the people here," Guan said minutes after walking off the green. "All the patrons were really nice to me and I appreciate them coming here watching me. It's very nice."

Many of them felt privileged to witness such a performance from the youngest US Masters competitor.

"I hope to see him continue his success for many years to come," Alex Kline-Wedeen said. He's a patron that has visited the US Masters for the past 15 years from the state of Illinois.

The US Masters brings the golfing world together on its magnificent stage and this year it saw Guan and Scott make history.

The future is indeed looking bright.

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