April 27 2013
By Brian Allee-Walsh, PGATOUR.COM Correspondent
AVONDALE, La. -- After coming off a poor third shot from a waste bunker on the par-5 18th Saturday morning, Guan Tianlang quickly went from a 14-year-old sensation playing in his second PGA TOUR event to a mere boy among men.
"He hits the shot and he says with a smile, 'Hey, there's a little alligator right here,'" said Guan's caddie, Todd McPherson. "People forget that he's still a kid.
"Yes, he pays attention to all the little things that go with playing good golf but he's still a kid. When it's time to hit a golf shot, he hits the shot. But at the end of the day he's still a kid and people forget that sometimes."
Until Saturday's third round of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, Guan had played like a grown man, qualifying for the weekend at 3-under 141 with rounds of 72-69.
Though conditions were favorable in the morning at TPC Louisiana to go low, Guan went high with a 5-over 77 and stands last in the field of 71 at 2-over 218 entering Sunday's final round.
"I didn't do pretty good," Guan told reporters. "I didn't have a good start, and I tried to start back in the middle and made a couple birdies. But it was not a very good round."
Guan's roller-coaster ride of 39-38 consisted of nine pars, three birdies, five bogeys (including a bogey 6 on 18) and one triple bogey.
"He handled himself very well out there," McPherson said. "He's very even tempered. He doesn't get really hot or cold at all. He had a tough day but that's how it goes. He'll play again tomorrow. He's got to deal with the good rounds and the bad rounds. He'll have more bad rounds, it's just part of it."
McPherson, a 37-year-old scratch golfer from New Orleans and a member of TPC Louisiana, is carrying Guan's bag this week at the request of Fore!Kids Foundation CEO Steve Worthy. The hook-up comes two weeks after Guan became the youngest player to make a cut at a Masters.
"This is great fun out here, great fun," McPherson said. "He's a good kid.
"The shot I remember so far is his tee shot at No. 17 (213-yard, par 3 in the opening round. He hit 4-wood to 1 foot. That was a good shot, a good shot. His short game is really good. He was a little off today but his short game is good."