Guan Tian-lang will make European Tour history this week, becoming the youngest player to compete in a sanctioned event at 13 years and 173 days.
The teen earned his place in the Volvo China Open field by virtue of his finish in the mid-China qualifying tournament, where he was fourth. Guan appeared to have missed a chance to get into his national championship, but the China Golf Association offered an exemption to Wu Kang-chun, who won the qualifier. Guan then became the third qualifier and part of the field this week at Tianjin Binhai Lake.
“I really couldn’t be happier. I’m so excited right now,” said Guan, according to the European Tour. “I was really disappointed to lose out in the playoff and I thought I’d blown a great chance to make history, but then to find out I’m actually going to play is like a dream come true.”
Guan won the Callaway Junior World Championship last year in San Diego, shooting a final-round 63 at The Country Club of Rancho Bernardo to win his age group (11-12 years old) by 11 shots.
“My goal now is to be the youngest player ever to make the cut in a European Tour event, and I think if I can shoot level par or better I’ll have a good chance to do that,” Guan said.
Before Guan, the youngest player to enter a European Tour event was Lo Shik-kai, who was 13 years and 280 days when he played in the 2003 Hong Kong Open. He shot 73-73 to miss the cut by nine shots.