14-year-old Guan Tianlang is leading by five strokes after 36 holes in the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship and when you think about the potential significance of his win, it is amazing to think that he could become the youngest Masters participant by two and a half years if he were to win on Sunday and earn an invitation to the 2013 Masters. The fact that he is from China would make the accomplishment that much greater.
Tianlang shows so much poise for someone his age and he seems to be able to take one shot at a time and be relaxed even when the pressure is so intense. He is leading for a reason and that reason is that he is playing better than everyone else.
Hideki Matsuyama is not playing too well this week and it is possible that he is struggling with an elbow injury. The 2-time Defending Champion is feeling the pressure this week and he has been feeling it ever since he gave a speech in English during the welcoming party early this week. It does not look as though Matsuyama will win for a third straight year but he has already proven how talented he is.
When you look at all of these young players around the world, one of the biggest reasons for their success is their preparation. They have been able to watch the best players in the world as well as listen to their teachers and they are then able to go out and imitate those actions.
All of the worldwide competition among young golfers inspires great play but it can also stunt personal growth. Guan Tianlang may be from China but he spends a good amount of time playing in the United States and elsewhere around the world. He is bilingual and he seems to have a poise that comes from experience. But we have seen many times how young phenoms can succeed on the world stage but face other issues as they get older.