Troon Golf has had extra cause for celebration this week, as Guan Tianlang, a member at Troon’s flagship property in China, Lion Lake Country Club tees it up at the Masters.
The Chinese prodigy has captured the imagination of the world of golf, with many staggered at the 8th grader’s poise at such a formidable event. So much so, that Tiger Woods was questioned at length about the young Chinese golfer, who he had entertained during a practice round earlier in the week and was magnanimous in his praise.
The World Number One and four-time Masters Winner, noted, “He has asked a lot of golf stuff. He speaks great English and has picked it up really well. When I was here (for the first-time) I was getting ready for mid-terms, so it is cool to see his attitude and open mindedness, he is just taking it all in. He is going to learn and become so much better because of this experience and is certainly going to grow as a player and a person.”
The fourteen year-old, who qualified for the tournament as a result of his impressive wire-to-wire victory in the Asia Pacific Amateur Championship last year, has been rich in praise for Lion Lake in helping him achieve his series of historic results. The quality course conditioning provides Guan with the type of conditions usually found at the world’s best championship venues, suggesting that he is better prepared for competing in high-profile amateur and professional events.
“We have worked with Guan and his family for the last 3 years in helping him prepare as thoroughly as possible for top level amateur golf,” commented John Ho, Lion Lake Vice President. “His performance has surpassed everyone’s expectations and everyone who has been involved in his incredible success is extremely proud of his achievements. The team at the golf course have endeavoured to create the best practice environment, with specific treatments to simulate conditions at Augusta. Troon’s agronomy team have gone to great lengths to condition the greens and fairways to the highest spec. Everyone at Lion Lake is delighted for Guan and wish him good luck for the week.”
The impact Guan has had at Augusta has been overwhelming with many comparisons being drawn between him and some of golf’s great young superstars. Mainstream media have been quick to examine the fourteen year olds ability to handle the occasion, a test Guan has passed with flying colours.
“What Guan has done is quite simply out of this world,” commented David Townend, Troon’s Director for Asia. “His talent and work ethic are an inspiration to us all. His popularity will no doubt grow significantly following this week and his future potential as a Chinese and global sporting icon is a journey we will all follow closely.”
In his first round Guan, paired with 1983 and 1994 Champion Ben Crenshaw and former record holder for the youngest player at The Masters, Matteo Manassero, recorded a score of 73 and has a good chance of making the cut.