14-year-old Guan Tianlang penalized at Masters

  • Article by: JIM SOUHAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 12, 2013 - 10:30 PM

Guan Tianling’s slow-play penalty is believed a Masters first.

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Guan Tianlang was the only player hit with a penalty for slow play on a day many threesomes needed at least 5½ hours to complete their round.

Photo: DAVID J. PHILLIP • Associated Press ,

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– For 77 years, the Augusta National Golf Club did not allow female members.

On Friday, Augusta National Golf Club accused someone else of moving too slow.

In this case, it was a 14-year-old amateur from China who had become the best story of the first round.

On Thursday, Guan Tianlang shot a 73 as the youngest entrant ever, by more than two years, at the Masters. On Friday, he finished with a 75 after rules official John Paramor penalized him for slow play, evidently the first such penalty ever assessed during the Masters.

For most of the day, the penalty stroke threatened to send Guan home, but he made the cut by remaining within 10 shots of the leaders. At 14 years and 5 months old, Guan will become the youngest golfer by almost two years to make the cut at a major since 1900.

“I respect the decision they make,” Guan said. “I think they should do it with respect to everybody.”

Guan was penalized after Paramor warned him of slow play after the 10th hole. He was placed “on the clock” two holes later, meaning he was given 40 seconds to play each stroke. Paramor gave him his first warning on the 13th hole.

While there is little doubt that Guan violated the rule, he was the only player penalized on a day when many threesomes required 5½ hours or more to play 18 holes. Many players said that gauging the wind required extra time before every shot.

“It’s pretty hard because you need to make the decision,” Guan said. “The wind switched a lot. But that’s for everybody.”

Masters competition committee chairman Fred Ridley said in a statement that “in keeping with the applicable rules, he was penalized following his second shot on the 17th hole when he again exceeded the 40-second limit by a considerable margin.”

Guan finished at 4 over par. He made the cut when leader Jason Day was unable to birdie any of the last three holes.

Slow-play penalties are rare. The last player to be penalized for slow play in a major was Greg Bourdy at the 2010 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin.

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