Chinese golfer Guan Tianlang became the youngest player in Masters history when he teed off at the 2013 tournament at age 14 years and five months.
Born on October 25, 1998, in Guangzhou, Guangongdong, China, Guan Tianland racked up a slew of amateur and junior golf championships before reaching his teen years, despite having such little formal coaching. A victory at the 2012 Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship earned him an automatic berth at the 2013 Masters, where he became the youngest player in the prestigious tournament's history.
Guan Tianlang was born on October 25, 1998, in Guangzhou, Guangongdong, China, the only child of Han Wen and Hong Yu. Introduced to golf at age 4, Tianlang was soon practicing regularly and waking up early to watch tournaments televised from the United States. Relying mainly on lessons from his father, a talented amateur, and his own natural abilities, Guan developed into a highly skilled young golfer.
Guan racked up an impressive collection of accomplishments on the green at an early age. He became the youngest player to win on the China Amateur Futures Tour (2010) and the China Amateur Tour (2011), and he handily won the Boys 11-12 division at the 2011 Callaway Junior World Golf Championships in San Diego by 11 strokes. Then, at 13 years and 173 days, he became the youngest player to compete on the European Tour at the 2012 Volvo China Open.
Barely 14 years old, Guan entered the 2012 Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship in Thailand as the No. 490-ranked amateur player in the world. Despite the low expectations, he quickly emerged as one of the tournament's leaders, then sank a five-foot putt to win by one stroke. The victory earned him automatic qualification to the 2013 Masters Tournament at the Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia.
At 14 years, five months and 17 days old, Guan was easily the youngest player in history to compete at the Masters, as well as the only one expected to resume classes at Guangzhou Zhixin Middle School in China in short order. At approximately 5'9" and 145 pounds, he lacked the power to keep up with the heavy hitters on the longer holes, but he displayed his expertise with the belly putter and dazzled with his soft touch on the greens. Even more impressive, to many, was the poise he showed in his debut at perhaps the most prestigious golf tournament in the world. Despite all the scrutiny, he shot an opening-round 73, just one stroke over par.
"He played a beautiful round of golf," gushed one of his playing partners, two-time Masters champion Ben Crenshaw. "He's very confident and his thought process never got rushed. Very patient. Very impressive."
The following day Guan was assessed a one-stroke penalty for slow play, but he still managed a 75 to become the youngest player to make the cut at a modern PGA Tour
event. He finished the weekend in 58th place, good enough to earn recognition as the tournament's lowest-scoring amateur.
Following his auspicious Masters debut, Guan also played well at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans later that month. However, the 14-year-old went on to miss the cut at the HP Byron Nelson Championship, the Memorial Tournament and the FedEx St. Jude Classic, proving there remained plenty of room for improvement in his game.
Guan resumed competing in junior tournaments and worked with Sean Foley, Tiger Woods's coach, as he eyed a return to the golf limelight. He tied for eighth place at the 2014 Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship, and in early 2015 he made the cut at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship before finishing in a tie for 70th place.