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Another prodigy in China already

(China Daily)

13:37, May 01, 2013

Ye Wocheng tees off at the China Amateur Golf Futures Tour event on April 17 in Yangjiang, Guangdong province. Ye will become the youngest player to play in a European PGA Tour event when he takes part in the Volvo China Open at the age of 12 years and 242 days on Thursday. Provided to China Daily

Ye Wocheng will become the youngest player to participate in a European PGA Tour event when he tees off on Thursday, Tang Zhe reports from Yangjiang, Guangdong province.

Chinese golf prodigy Guan Tianlang's impressive junior records are set to be challenged by another youngster.

Ye Wocheng will become the youngest player to tee off in a European PGA Tour event when he plays in the Volvo China Open at the age of 12 years and 242 days on Thursday, breaking Guan's record of 13 year and 177 days set a year ago.

"When I saw Guan Tianlang break the record last year, I told my father I wanted to create a new record," Ye said during the China Amateur Golf Futures Tour event held at the Lakefront Golf Club in Yangjiang, Guangdong province, last month.

That's just the start of his golfing aspirations.

"My target for this year is to secure qualification to the Masters," said the Dongguan native, who lifted the world junior crown in San Diego at his debut in 2010 and added a second win in 2011 with a record score of 18-under in three rounds.

After winning the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship, Guan was given a berth at the US Masters. Ye hopes to emulate that feat and will move to Nanshan, Shandong province, in September to boost his chances.

Compared with Guan, who averages about 250 yards off the tee, Ye, at 1.73 meters, can drive about 300 yards.

"He is physically strong and always performs to his coach's expectations. He has the interest and desire to play, and drives longer (than Guan) - his ideal height would be 180-183 cm," Ye Huihong, said of his son, whose golf wear and equipment are provided by Nike.

However, the senior Ye concedes Guan is more mature in competitions.

"Guan's play is more stable and scrupulous, his short putts and chipping are better. Moreover, his character is more mature after participating in so many rounds," Ye Huihong said.

"Wocheng's thought process is, by comparison, relatively simple, and his mentality is not that steady - he sometimes becomes angry with himself if he isn't playing well," he said.

Talking about Guan's eye-catching appearance at Augusta, Ye Huihong said Guan's achievement proved Chinese and Asian people are able to play good golf.

He also described Guan as a pioneer who was paving the way for Wocheng and other young Chinese golfers to follow.

Ye became interested in golf around the age of 4 as he watched his father play. Once, when his father was not around, Ye picked up a driver, which was much taller than him, and tried to swing it. However, all he managed to do was break the expensive club. Instead of punishing the boy, Huihong bought him a set of children's clubs, found him a coach and sent him to practice every day after school.

Ye started to play junior tournaments at the age of 8 and surprisingly placed fourth in his first event.

"That was a pleasant result and it was then that I decided to improve his training and hire a better coach," Huihong said.

Through junior tournaments, the Ye family met many young golfers, including Guan, who started playing in the United States at an early age.

"Wocheng had already won junior championships in domestic tournaments, so we also wanted to go to the US to see the level of junior golfers from other countries," Huihong said.

They followed the Guans to the US in 2010.

After winning consecutive world junior crowns in San Diego in 2010 and 2011, Huihong is even more confident about his son's golfing future.

The junior Ye, who is in his first year of middle school in his hometown and can speak English, also has ambitious plans.

"I want to go to a US senior high school and join the school team," Ye said.

According to Huihong, his son has average marks at school and has a home tutor to help him catch up with lessons missed due to his golf schedule.

"We want to find the best coach to teach him, which will be helpful to his growth. We are also planning to see some schools in the US in summer," Huihong said. "If he can continue to improve step by step, I will let him start a professional career."

Email|Print|Comments(Editor:HuangBeibei、Chen Lidan)

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