Youngsters Guan, Zhang miss Australian Open cut

Tianlang Guan of China

Tianlang Guan of China

Asia-Pacific Amateur champ Tianlang Guan missed the cut at the Australia Open, but closed with a respectable 2-under 70 that was a dozen shots better than his opening round.

Guan, who’s exempt into the 2013 Masters, tied for 99th in the Australia Open’s 156-player field. He hit 16 greens Friday after hitting just six in the first round. Guan teed off on No. 10 at The Lakes and made three birdies and no bogeys on his opening nine holes. He bogeyed Nos. 3 and 6, though, before closing with a birdie at the ninth.

Guan, 14, will be the youngest participant in Masters history when he tees up at Augusta National in April.

Guan’s 70 Friday was his first sub-par score in a professional event on a major tour this year. He shot 77-79 at this year’s Volvo China Open. He was 13 years old at the time and the youngest participant in European Tour history. He averaged 77.0 strokes per round in the China and Australia opens.

Guan finished one shot ahead of countryman Andy Zhang, who was 14 when he participated in this year’s U.S. Open at the Olympic Club. Zhang shot 76-77 at the Australian Open. He has missed the cut in four professional events this year: the U.S. Open, Omega European Masters and Korea and Australia Opens.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, 63-year-old Tom Watson made the Australian Open cut after rounds of 78-68. He’s T-47 after 36 holes.

Marcus Fraser, No. 58 in the Official World Golf Ranking, holds the lead at 6-under 138.

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