Looking like old pro, 14-year-old opens with 73

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AUGUSTA, GA. (AP) - Guan Tianlang put off his homework for a few hours, grabbed the snack his mom had made and went out to play with his friends.

His playground was Augusta National and the world had tuned in to watch the 14-year-old from China, the youngest player ever to tee it up at the Masters and youngest at any major in 148 years.

That’s some play date.

“I felt a little bit nervous on the first tee,” Guan said. “But I hit a great tee shot and, after that, everything feels comfortable. … I just had fun today. Pretty much fun.”

Played great, too.

Guan made a 15-footer from off the fringe to birdie his final hole Thursday, finishing with a 1-over 73. As the ball rolled into the cup, the crowd around 18 gave the teenager a standing ovation, with two-time Masters champion Ben Crenshaw leading the cheers for his young playing partner.

Play like this again Friday, and he’s got a shot at making the cut.

“I’m telling you, he played like a veteran today,” Crenshaw said. “Played a beautiful round of golf. He stays well within himself. He’s very confident and, obviously, beautiful hands. His thought process never got rushed. Very patient. Very, very, very impressive.”

He wasn’t the only one who was impressed. The same “wow” murmurs could be heard on every hole, as fans _ young and old _ marveled at the eighth grader who was holding his own with the greatest golfers in the world.

“That’s the 14-year-old.”

“Fourteen? You’re joking!”

“Fourteen? That’s amazing.”

“It’s amazing. Absolutely amazing,” said Lisa Nichols, whose folding chair, from the 1998 Masters, was older than Guan.

And more than a little bit humbling.

“It makes me feel a little lousy,” 15-year-old Daniel Thrailkill said sheepishly. “I do (play). I can’t play as good as him, though.”

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