SHENZHEN – Schoolboy Yang Kuang grabbed a slice of golfing history on Friday when he became the second youngest player in history to make the cut at a European Tour event.
The 14-year-old Chinese amateur showed nerves of steel to hole a treacherous 20-foot downhill putt on the 18th green to save par, and card a second successive round of one-under-par 71 at the China Open.
The knee-knocker edged Kuang into the weekend right on the cut mark of two-under par 142, and he celebrated with a fist pump and huge high-fives with his playing partners Louis de Jager of South Africa and Japan’s Kodai Ichihara.
“I’m really happy. It’s amazing,” Kuang told AFP after the snaking putt dropped into the centre of the cup at Genzon Golf Club in his home town of Shenzhen.
“At the 18th hole I was really nervous, because it was a long putt for me,” he smiled after breathing huge sigh of relief and patting his fluttering heart as he tried to stay calm.
“I think my putting became better today, so that’s why I could make the cut.
“I just tried my best and although today everything was much better than yesterday, my score was the same.”
Kuang’s heroics have only been eclipsed in history by another Chinese golfing prodigy, Guan Tianlang, who was just one month younger when he made the cut at the 2013 US Masters.
“I’m too happy I have no words to describe it,” Kuang beamed after being roared on by a huge gallery of fans which included his family, his headteacher and a large group of his school pals carrying a good luck banner.
“To my dad, my headteacher, my mum and many of my family who came out,” said the softly-spoken teenager, “I want to be thankful to them for supporting me.”
He goes into the weekend 11 shots adrift of the leader, countryman and 2015 China Open winner Wu Ashun
But Kuang has already bettered the performance this week of the China Open’s only double champion.
France’s Alexander Levy, the 2014 and 2017 winner, carded a second-round 75 to finish three-over par and will not be playing at the weekend.AFP