Open Heartbreak For Chinese Prodigy
Thailand's Kiradech Aphibarnrat followed an opening round of 68 with a 9-under 63 to win a 36-hole Asia regional qualifying tournament at the Amata Springs Country Club in Thailand, for this year's British Open.
Chinese teenager Guan Tianlang, who will become the youngest player to compete at the U.S. Masters in April, missed out on a chance to play in the Open Championship at Muirfield after after carding a one-over-par 73, in the first round and a 74 on Friday to finish 16 strokes behind Aphibarnrat.
The 14-year-old prodigy went into qualifying with high hopes having won the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship at the course in November to seal his place at the Masters.
Elsewhere in Asian qualifying two-time Asia-Pacific amateur champion Hideki Matsuyama of Japan, who shared the first-round lead, shot 69 Friday to finish second, four strokes behind.
Matsuyama avoided a repeat of his 2012 heartbreak when the Japanese dropped six shots in the final three holes to miss the playoff for the fourth British Open place. Aphibarnrat and Matsuyama will be joined Daisuke Maruyama of Japan (65) and Wu Ashun of China (68) who also qualified by finishing tied for third.
But spare a thought for Bangladesh's Siddikur Rahman. He was on course to become the first player to represent his country in golf's oldest major after sharing the opening round lead with Matsuyama on six-under-par 66 before falling out of contention with disappointing 73 in the final round.
Siddikur was in pole position to qualify after 36 hoes in 2011 but was disqualified on the final day after failing to write down a score for the last hole.
African qualifying takes place in Johannesburg on March 5 and 6, the American leg is in Texas on May 20 and the European event will be contested in England on June 24.