From Tianlang Guan’s Asia Pacific Amateur victory to Beau Hossler’s memorable U.S. Open performance at the Olympic Club, 2012 was a year to remember for boys junior golf.
Over the course of 10 days, we’ll bring you the top 10 players of the year starting at No. 10 and ending with the player who we think had the most impressive season.
Who will be No. 1? Who else will make the list? Keep checking back to find out as we continue with No. 8 on our list: Andy Zhang
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No. 8: Andy Zhang
Golfweek/Sagarin ranking: 115
Credentials: U.S. Open (MC); Omega European Masters (MC); Australian Open (MC); U.S. Amateur (MC); U.S. Junior Amateur (Round of 64); Vaughn Taylor Championship (T-14); Golf Pride Junior Classic (T-19); Hank Haney IJGA Junior Open (T-8); Junior All-Star at Fieldstone (T-7); TaylorMade-adidas Golf Junior at Innisbrook (T-11); Florida Boys Junior (14 & under, champion); Scott Robertson Memorial (14 & under, T-3); IMG Junior Golf Tour at World Golf Village (champion).
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A 14-year-old playing in the U.S. Open. That in itself makes Zhang’s year one of the best among his peers.
A native of China, Zhang moved to the U.S. at age 10. In a little more than four years, Zhang has become not only a familiar name on the junior circuit, but on golf’s biggest stages, as well.
He was the second alternate before getting into the U.S. Open at Olympic Club and becoming the youngest participant in event history. He battled nerves and finished at 17 over through two rounds, missing the cut. But just getting to Olympic Club was a huge feat alone, especially for a 14-year-old.
Zhang’s season also included appearances in the U.S. Junior Amateur, where he made match play, and the U.S. Amateur, Omega European Masters and Australian Open – he missed the cut in all three.
He recorded top 20s in all five of his AJGA starts with a T-7 at the Junior All-Star at Fieldstone being his best finish in those events. He added a win on the IMG Junior Golf Tour and a victory in the 14-and-under division of the Florida Boys Junior.
The Reunion, Fla., resident will turn 15 on Dec. 14 and big things are expected in 2013 from the youngest U.S. Open participant in history. One would expect Zhang to increase his participation in some of junior golf’s bigger tournaments (i.e. Thunderbird International, FootJoy and Rolex Tournament of Champions). You could also see Zhang in a professional event or two overseas.
And you can’t rule out a return trip to the U.S. Open, either.
Despite being just a kid, he’s already proven he can do it once.