Guan, 14, clinches Masters berth

Guan Tianlang will  play in the US Masters and The Open next year
Guan Tianlang will play in the US Masters and The Open next year
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Guan Tianlang is poised to 
become the youngest golfer to play at the US Masters after the Chinese 14-year-old won the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship in Thailand.

The teenager earned an invitation to Augusta after firing an even-par 71 to win by one stroke from Taiwan’s Pan Chung-Tseng at Amata Spring Country Club.

Pan shot a final-round 65 but Guan hung on to claim a memorable victory with a 15-under total of 269. Australia’s Oliver Goss, who finished third, said that Guan was “too young to be intimidated.”

When Guan, whose victory has also earned him a spot in next year’s Open at Muirfield, tees it up at Augusta in April, he will beat the previous record set by Italy’s Matteo Manassero, who was 16 when he played at the year’s first major in 2010.

Guan is quickly establishing himself as Asia’s latest golf sensation, becoming the youngest player to compete at a European Tour event at the China Open earlier this year.

Japan’s Ryo Ishikawa and South Korean Noh Seung-yul both burst on to the scene while still at school, blazing a trail for the next generation of Asian golfers. Ishikawa, 21, has nine Japanese Tour wins to his name, his first coming as a 15-year-old, while Noh, also 21, captured a European Tour title at the Malaysian Open in 2010.