WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND | Though he only just turned 19, Guan Tianlang is an old pro when it comes to the Asia-Pacific Amateur, with 2017 being the sixth consecutive year he has competed in this championship.
The Chinese native won the first time he competed in the tournament, at the Amata Spring Country Club in Chonburi, Thailand, in 2012, and then went on to earn low-amateur honors at The Masters the following spring at the tender age of 14. Those were the high points of what has turned out to be a rather uneven golf career, with his playing so infrequently on the amateur circuit that he no longer appears on the World Amateur Golf Ranking. But Guan is still at it, now as a freshman at the University of Arizona and as a member of the Wildcats’ golf team.
“I like it there,” said the teenager, who is noticeably taller and sturdier than the spindly lad who wooed the gallery at Augusta National four-and-a-half years ago with his calm demeanor and deft wedge play. “School is pretty good, the weather is getting better now that winter’s coming, and we are able to play all over Tucson. I like being in the States, too, and I am pretty comfortable there because I trained and played a lot in America when I was younger.”
Alas, he did not seem very much at ease at Royal Wellington, signing for scores of 75 and 76 that left him at 9-over par, three strokes above the cut line.