Tianlang Guan finished his week as the youngest golfer ever to start and make the cut at a Masters four shots clear of the cellar after posting a closing-round 5-over 75 at Augusta.
The 14-year-old eighth-grader from China overcame a controversial slow-play penalty in Thursday’s first round to complete his historic stint at 12-over and walk away with a sense of what he needed to work on to advance his game.
"It's such a great week for me and I enjoy it so far and learned a lot," Guan told reporters after finishing up four rounds without a single-hole score higher than bogey. That’s certainly more than you can say for Kevin Na, who carded a 10 on the par-3 12th on Sunday and was one of three veteran PGA Tour players to finish lower than Guan.
Guan, who qualified for the Masters with a win at last year’s Asia-Pacific Amateur and said he did “a pretty good job this week,” might try to play his way into the U.S. Open. But he has no intention of turning professional in the near future.
"I've not decided yet, but it won't be too early because there's still a lot of things to learn to improve," Guan said. "So nothing to rush."
Guan, by the way, closed just three shots north of three-time Masters winner Phil Mickelson and 2011 PGA champ Keegan Bradley. For Lefty, his 9-over 297 was the second-worst score in 20 times he has made the cut at the Masters, according to the Associated Press.
Mickelson ended a miserable week with a final-round 73, while Bradley rebounded from Saturday’s 10-over 82 with a 69 in Sunday’s finale.