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April 18 2013

5:30 PM

14-year-old Guan to play Zurich Classic

Guan Tianlang will follow up his Masters appearance by playing the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. (Redington/Getty Images)

Guan Tianlang, the 14-year-old amateur from China who made history by making the cut at the Masters, has accepted a sponsor's exemption to play in the Zurich Classic of New Orleans on April 25-28.

Last summer, Guan spent a month in New Orleans, staying with a family friend and practicing for a U.S. Open qualifier. He also took part in a junior golf program at Lakewood Golf Club.

"It's great for me to come back here and play in the Zurich Classic," Guan said Thursday during a teleconference call. "... I really wanted to play in this event."

Steve Worthy, CEO of the Fore!Kids Foundation, made the announcement earlier this week.

“The Fore!Kids Foundation, host organization of the Zurich Classic, is all about benefiting youth,” Worthy said. “(Guan) represents the aspirations of millions of young golfers and golf fans of all ages worldwide.”

Guan became the youngest player to compete in the Masters and then made the cut on the number, the only one of six amateurs to make the cut. As a result, he was awarded the Silver Cup as low amateur and participated in the post-tournament ceremony with winner Adam Scott in the Butler Cabin.

Guan qualified for the Masters by winning the fourth-annual Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship last November, where he was also the youngest player in the field. His four-round score of 15 under secured a one-stroke victory over a high-quality field in Thailand.

The eighth-grader said he was happy with his performance at Augusta National.

"It was a really good experience to play in the Masters," he said.

Zurich Insurance Group, title sponsor of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, was a founding corporate partner of the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship in 2009.

"We are proud to partner with the Masters Tournament and The R&A to support the growth of the game in Asia and around the world through our sponsorship of the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship," said Martin Senn, CEO of Zurich. “(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."

The Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship began four years ago with the backing of the Masters and The R&A and exempts the winner into the year's first major and into the finals of International Final Qualifying for The Open Championship. Guan follows a great heritage of champions in the event’s four-year history -- including Hideki Matsayama, the winner in 2010 and 2011 and the low amateur at the 2011 Masters Tournament.

Two-time Masters champion Ben Crenshaw described Guan best after playing the first two rounds with him at Augusta National: “He stays well within himself. He's very confident and his thought process never got rushed. Very patient. Very impressive. (Guan) played about four of the most delicate pitches you have ever seen.”

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