Rare slow-play penalty could keep 14-year-old Guan Tianlang from making Masters cut | Bleader

Rare slow-play penalty could keep 14-year-old Guan Tianlang from making Masters cut

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Guan Tianlang at Augusta National today
  • AP Photo/Charlie Riedel
  • Guan Tianlang at Augusta National today
Guan Tianlang wasn't too young to make the Masters, but he may have been too slow to make the Masters cut.

Tianlang, 14, of China—the youngest contestant ever in the tournament by more than two years—followed yesterday's sparkling one-over-par 73 at Augusta National with a 75 today. That puts him at four over for the tournament, which could be one stroke too many.

Tianlang only struck the ball 74 times today. But on his second-to-last hole, officials penalized him one stroke for slow play. The last time a player was penalized for slow play was in 1995—three years before Tianlang was born.

"I respect the decision," Tianlang said after his round. "I really enjoyed this week so far. I hit some good shots today and learnt a lot."

The field will be reduced after today's round from 93 to the top 50 and ties. With many golfers still on the course, Tianlang is currently tied for 54th. But everyone within ten strokes of the leader also makes the cut. The three leaders at the moment are five-under-par. If no one finishes seven-under or better, Tianlang will still be in the tournament for the weekend rounds.

One of the three leaders is Tiger Woods. He's three-under for today's round, and he still has eight holes to play.

One of Tianlang's playing partners today, 19-year-old Matteo Manassero, said that Tianlang "takes a little too long," asking too many questions of his caddie. "We all feel sorry, but this is the way professional golf goes."

But the veteran in Tianlang's threesome, two-time Masters champion Ben Crenshaw, sounded critical of the penalty. "The way I understand it, he was warned after he walked off the 16th," Crenshaw said after the round, according to ESPN. "And he had obviously the most diabolical putt you could face and he made a brilliant two-putt. And, you know, I'm going to say this: Anybody would take time in order to get up and hit that putt."

The 61-year-old Crenshaw added: "I'm sick for him. He's 14 years old. . . . When you get the wind blowing out here, believe me, you're going to change your mind a lot. . . . So everybody is taking their time. It's difficult. I am so sorry. I'm so sorry this has happened. It's not going to be pretty."

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