Masters First Round News & Notes

8:13 PM, Apr 11, 2013   |    comments
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Augusta, GA (Sports Network) - Tianlang Guan became the youngest player to start the Masters Thursday and carded a 1-over 73 during his debut.

Guan, who is just 14 years old, traded four birdies with five bogeys during his first round to grab a share of 46th place.

He earned an invite to the season's first major by winning the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship.

The China native was joined in his group by previous record holder Matteo Manassero. Manassero set the record in 2010 when he started the Masters at the age of 16.

"I'm telling you, he played like a veteran today," said two-time Masters champion Ben Crenshaw, who also played alongside Guan. "He played a beautiful round of golf. He stays well within himself, he's very confident, and obviously beautiful hands. His thought process never got rushed, very patient."

Guan's day started off with a bogey at the first, but he countered that with a bending birdie putt from around 10 feet at the third.

After parring the next three holes, he slipped to a pair of bogeys at the seventh and ninth to hit the turn at 2-over.

He then hit his approach at the 10th to within 10 feet and converted the birdie effort to get back to 1-over, but quickly lost that stroke when he hit his second shot at the par-4 11th into the water en route to a bogey.

Guan again traded a birdie at the 13th with a bogey at the 14th to remain at 2-over before failing to convert a couple of lengthy birdie putts at the 15th and 16th.

Following another par at the 17th, he closed his round by pouring in a birdie putt from the fringe at the last and to post the low score of the day by an amateur.

"I just want to enjoy the tournament, have some fun and hopefully take shot good shots out there," Guan said about his expectations entering the second round.

FOWLER BATTLES BACK

Rickie Fowler opened both his front and back nine with a double bogey, but did not let it discourage him as he finished his first round at 4-under 68 to sit in a tie for fourth place.

He did not drop another shot other than those two doubles and recorded six birdies and an eagle over his other 16 holes to became the first player since Raymond Floyd in 1992 to finish a round in the 60s at the Masters that included two double bogeys.

"I just had to kind of stay in the moment and keep swinging," said Fowler. "I had some good swings from then on out, a couple squirrely ones, but we'll go to the range, straighten them out and get after it tomorrow."

He picked up four of his birdies at the second, sixth, eighth and ninth holes to hit the turn at 2-under, and after his second double bogey at the 10th dropped him back to even par, he split birdies at the 11th and 17th around about a 10-foot eagle putt at the 15th to post his final score.

"I'm looking forward to getting a good finish and really showing up to get a green jacket. I wouldn't mind knocking off my first major," Fowler said.

He has not finished better than a tie for 27th place in his previous two appearances at the Masters.

POULTER ON VERGE OF MISSING CUT

Ian Poulter carded a 4-over 76 on Thursday and will need a strong showing during his second round to avoid missing his first cut at this event.

Poulter is making his ninth appearance at the Masters and has not finished lower than 31st in any of those other appearances, including a seventh-place finish last year.

His day started with six straight pars before he started his slide with three bogeys over a four-hole stretch from the seventh.

His lone birdie of the first round came at the 12th to get him back to 2-over, but he later lost that stroke plus another as he closed with consecutive bogeys at the 17th and 18th.

* Jamie Donaldson had a hole-in-one at the sixth hole. It was the 24th ace in Masters history and the fifth at the sixth hole.

* Steven Fox (76), T.J. Vogel (76) Nathan T. Smith (77), Michael Weaver (78) and Alan Dunbar (83) were the other amateurs participating in the Masters behind Guan.

* The hardest hole of the first round was the par-4 first, which played to an average of 4.31 strokes.

* The easiest hole of the round was the par-5 15th, which played to an average of 4.35 strokes.

 

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