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Guan struggles on course but draws lots of admirers

By Garrett Johnston (China Daily)

10:37, April 15, 2013

Guan Tianlang continued his tremendous experience at the US Masters on Saturday.

Although he shot a 5-over par 77 during the third round and now stands at 9-over par and in 59th place for the tournament, he had some bright spots, in particular, a solid short game that got him out of trouble a number times on the front nine.

He has also put his overall experience at the US Masters in perspective.

"It's great for me," Guan said, "And I think I had a pretty good run the first two days, and (Saturday was) pretty good, not bad I was at a couple (of holes) unlucky, but that's golf."

Because he is not hitting the ball as far as most players in the elite field, he is using longer clubs, such as fairway woods and hybrids into Augusta's severely sloped greens on his second shots.

As a result, he has little room for error, especially once he misses a green. On holes five through seven his chipping and putting were a saving grace.

Every time in that stretch, when he put the ball above the hole or in a tough spot on his approaches, he delicately chipped close and made his putts for par.

The stretch of par saves were so impressive that his father, Guan Hanwen, couldn't contain his joy.

"It's exciting," he said. "It's great that he plays so good."

Guan finished his round making a 60-foot putt on the 18th hole and got quite a cheer from the crowd.

"It's just a great week for me," Guan said, "And I really enjoy it. People here are nice, and I learned a lot from the top players. I think I played pretty good rounds these three days. It's really great."

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