Twelve-year-old Ye Wo-cheng had to settle for a round of 79 as he became the youngest player in European Tour history in the Volvo China Open, just seven over par.
Ye is just 12 years and 242 days old and almost a year younger than the previous record-holder Guan Tianlang, who famously made the cut at the Masters last month aged 14, and was 13 years and 177 days old when he played in the same event last year.
Having taken up the sport at age 4, Ye looks sets to be making global headlines in the years ahead.
But his coach David Watson said Ye’s “ability to listen and respond is way above the norm” but cautioned against putting too much pressure on the youngster, who won last month’s Guandong championship by 18 shots.
“Ye can go a long way, because he’s starting to break records now and if you look at what [world numbers one and two] Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy have achieved over the years, what he has done wasn’t even achieved by them as an amateur.
“If he keeps improving and keeps his dedication the world is his oyster — his ability is limitless. But, at the same time, I know it is dangerous to speculate and we must realise he is just a 12-year-old boy.”
Guan missed the cut 12 months ago with rounds of 77 and 79 and Ye looks set to suffer the same fate after carding eight bogeys and one birdie in his round.
Chinese compatriot Dou Ze-cheng, 16, had four birdies and two bogeys in his two-under-par round of 70 to lie just two shots off the early clubhouse lead.
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