Guan, 14, invited to PGA Tour event
Chinese golf prodigy Guan Tianlang will have another chance to shine at a top professional tournament after being invited to play in a PGA Tour event in New Orleans next week.
The 14-year-old stunned the sporting world at last week's Masters when he not only made the halfway cut as the youngest player to ever enter the prestigious major, but also finished as the leading amateur.
He will line up at the Zurich Classic, whose title sponsor was also involved with the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship he won last year to qualify for Augusta.
"Guan's victory in Thailand in November and his historic achievement last week at Augusta National Golf Club are truly remarkable. We are excited to have him join us," Zurich CEO Martin Senn said Thursday.
The tournament, won last year by Jason Dufner, is hosted by the Fore!Kids Foundation, which has raised almost $23 million for children since its inception in 1958.
"Guan represents the aspirations of millions of young golfers and golf fans of all ages worldwide," its CEO Steve Worthy said.
Dufner, who claimed the $1.15 million first prize last year when he beat Ernie Els in a playoff, is expected to defend his title in a field also including the South African, 2011 winner Bubba Watson, fellow major champion Keegan Bradley and world No. 3 Justin Rose.
Meanwhile, Sergio Garcia was off the pace after making a quick trans-Atlantic crossing to appear at his home Spanish Open.
The world No. 13, who tied for eighth at Augusta, was four shots behind the leaders after shooting par 72 in Thursday's opening round.
Compatriot Miguel Angel Jimenez, making his comeback after breaking a leg skiing last year, was in a tie for 112th after carding a rusty 76, to be in a group including former European Ryder Cup captain Jose Maria Olazabal.
Veteran Chilean Felipe Aguilar shared the lead with 21-year-old Frenchman Gary Stal and Denmark's Morten Orum Madsen after they all shot 68.
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