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14-year-old Masters phenom has New Orleans Connection

ALGIERS, LA (WGNO) – Tiger Woods is the biggest name in golf, but at this year’s Masters tournament in Augusta, Georgia, Woods is giving up a lot of the spotlight, along with other top golfers, to a 14-year-old from China.

Tianland Guan stunned the golf world Friday afternoon by making the cut to play Saturday and Sunday at the Masters.  He’s the youngest person to do that, and he has a New Orleans connection.

“He made his home here, and he stayed for three weeks,” said Jimmy Headrick, the PGA Director of Player Development at Lakewood Gold Club in Algiers.

Last summer, Guan participated in the club’s acclaimed training program for junior golfers.

“Well he knows how we care about him here at Lakewood Golf Club and the relationship we built with his family,” Headrick said.

Making the cut at Augusta is a fantasy for most amateur golfers.  But not only did Guan manage the feat, he was in the clubhouse tied with last year’s Masters champion Bubba Watson.

Guan did hit a bump on Friday when he was assessed a one stroke penalty for slow play.  But Headrick says even then, Guan impressed.

“He basically said, ‘Look I respect the rules.  I respect Augusta National, and I will move on’,” Headrick said.

According to Headrick, Guan says he will return to New Orleans after the Masters. Headrick hopes it’s for the Zurich Classic later this month.