Guan discards long putter, gears up for another shot at Masters invite

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Guan Tianlang, 14, will attempt to defend his title at the Asia Pacific Amateur next week.
October 15, 2013
By PGATOUR.COM wire reports

Guan Tianlang is gearing up for what he hopes is a return to the Masters.

Guan is defending champion next week at the Asia Pacific Amateur, to be played at Nanshan International Golf Club in China. The winner gets an invitation to the Masters. The 14-year-old from China not only became the youngest player in a 72-hole major, he made the cut at Augusta National despite a two-shot penalty for slow play.

Guan turns 15 during the second round of the Asia Pacific Amateur, which is stroke play. He said Tuesday more people recognize him in China, but that his Masters appearance helped accelerate growth of golf in his homeland.

"I think all of the Chinese people are happy for me, and I think more and more people know about golf in China," Guan said during a conference call. "And more people know about the Masters, and I think it means a lot to the young players in China and they think probably the Masters is not that far away from them."

Guan also made the cut in New Orleans, and then missed the cut in three other PGA TOUR events.

The one big change for this year -- the teenager is no longer using a belly putter. He said he switched to a conventional method a month ago.

"I didn't think it's too much different and which one is better," he said. "I think I change back probably a month ago, and I think -- I wish -- I can putt even better."