(Reuters) - Two weeks after stunning the golfing world by making the cut at the Masters, China’s 14-year-old Guan Tianlang has again turned heads with another remarkable display at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans in Avondale, Louisiana.
The surprisingly mature eighth-grader carded a three-under-par 69 in Friday’s second round of the PGA Tour event to finish at three-under 141, inside the projected cutline of two-under.
Having already become the youngest player to make the cut in a major championship, Guan all but ensured he would play two more rounds at the TPC Louisiana over the weekend after mixing five birdies with two bogeys and totaling just 25 putts.
“I think I played a very good round today,” Guan told Golf Channel after safely parring his final hole, the short ninth, where he hit a hybrid from 187 yards over water to 25 feet behind the hole.
“I made a lot of birdies and got a couple of good up-and-downs, so it was still a pretty good round. I think I made the cut.”
Asked how this week had matched up to his Masters experience two weeks ago, Guan replied: “It has been a little different, I would just like to prepare for another tournament. Not much different, just doing normal (things) that I should do.”
Guan, who booked his place at the Masters by winning last year’s Asia-Pacific Amateur champion, was watched by large galleries on Friday as he improved on his opening round of level-par 72.
Though conditions were relatively calm at the rain-softened TPC Louisiana, the players were not permitted to lift, clean and replace golf balls on the fairway, as they were during Thursday’s first round.
“It was a little better today but still wet,” Guan said of the state of the par-72 layout. “Sometimes I got some dirt on the ball. But today they moved the tee up on a couple of holes so it was not too bad.”
Asked if he had amazed himself by how well he had played, Guan replied: “I am not too surprised because I came here last year and I have some friends here. I think I did a pretty good job today.”
Guan, who spent one month last year with his family staying with friends in New Orleans, had been clear-cut about his goals for this week before the tournament began.
“I want to enjoy the week like in the Masters and, hopefully, make the cut,” he told reporters on Tuesday. “If not, it’s still a great experience. I hope to play good scores out there.”
With that mission now accomplished, he was asked to outline his objectives for the weekend.
“Play my best golf to go further,” Guan said with the hint of a smile.
When Guan ended his second round at the TPC Louisiana, he was tied for 42nd in the field of 154 players. Perhaps even more impressively, he has not yet recorded a score worse than a bogey in his six rounds so far completed on the PGA Tour.
Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Frank Pingue