Making history this week as the youngest player to ever tee it up in a European Tour event, 12-year-old Ye Wocheng opened with a 7-over 79 in the first round of the Volvo China Open.
Ye carded eight bogeys Thursday against one birdie, and after one round sits in a tie for 140th among the 156-man field. At 12 years, 242 days old, the pre-teen sensation eclipsed the record for youngest-ever on the European Tour, which formerly belonged to Guan Tianlang, who was 13 years, 177 days old when he played in this event last year.
Having earned one of three spots available in a 36-hole qualifier in Western China earlier this year, Ye is no stranger to high-level competition. He has twice won the U.S. Kids World Junior Golf Championship in San Diego, and holds the tournament's all-time low score at 12 under – a record that formerly belonged to Tiger Woods.
While Ye grabbed much of the early-week headlines, another prodigy gained notoriety after Thursday's opening round. Ze-Cheng Dou, who at age 16 appears a wily veteran compared to Ye, opened with a 2-under 70 at Binhai Lake Golf Club, notching four birdies against just two bogeys. After one round the amateur finds himself tied for 11th, alongside notable professionals including Thomas Bjorn, Alvaro Quiros and Alexander Noren, and just four shots off the lead held by Robert-Jan Derksen of the Netherlands.