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Guan returns looking for better speed

Updated: Wednesday, 24 Apr 2013 17:05 | Comments

Guan Tianlang made the cut at the US Masters
Guan Tianlang made the cut at the US Masters

Guan Tianlang admits he will be aware of the need for speed when he competes in this week's Zurich Classic of New Orleans.

Guan was controversially given a one-shot penalty for slow play during the Masters, where the 14-year-old made history as the youngest competitor ever at Augusta National.

The Chinese schoolboy was warned on the 10th hole of his second round, started being timed on the 12th and then took too long over his second shot to the 13th and approach to the 17th.

That triggered the one-shot penalty which meant a round of 75 and an anxious wait before discovering he had made the cut on the mark of four over.

Guan, who was said by tournament officials to have exceeded the 40-second limit by a "considerable margin," said: "I think my routine is not too bad.

"I probably have to make a decision quicker on windy days. So, yeah, I'll pay attention a little bit to it and probably speed up a little bit."

Guan, who received an invite to play at TPC Louisiana, added: "I want to enjoy the week like in the Masters and, hopefully, make the cut.

"If not, it's still a great experience. I hope to play good scores out there. It's a challenging golf course, but it depends on the weather and where they put the tees and the pins. So it's not an easy week too."

At 7,341 yards, TPC Louisiana is just 94 yards shorter than Augusta, where Guan impressed everyone with his accuracy with fairway woods and his putting - he and Lee Westwood were the only two players not to have a three-putt all week.

"I think this is also a big course for me," he added. "I need to putt it good I think. And I should play really good woods to make the cut and go further, but I still need to play a really good couple of rounds."

Guan's future plans are uncertain, but six-time major winner Nick Faldo has no doubts about what he should do for the foreseeable future.

"I think he should stay an amateur," Faldo said in quotes reported on pgatour.com. "He needs to keep winning, to get bored winning because you've just won everything. Then move over.

"I don't think just because you're a sensation at 14 or 16 you should be out on tour, I really don't."

American Jason Dufner returns to defend the title he won last year by beating Ernie Els in a play-off.

"I'm very much looking forward to my week in New Orleans," Open champion Els wrote on his blog. "In 2012 I was playing this event for the first time in 10 years and had a strong week, shooting four nice rounds in the 60s, and in the end was just one putt away from winning the tournament.

"It was my first time playing Pete Dye's TPC Louisiana course and I was impressed; straight away it seemed to fit my eye.

"Also, I loved the whole New Orleans vibe and the support from the galleries was fantastic. I had a lot of fun out there. In fact I'll be happy to repeat every aspect of last year's tournament but just go one better with the end result. That would be perfect."

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