On the 17th hole at Augusta National, 14-year-old Guan Tianlang was assessed a one-stroke penalty for slow play. Tianlang ended up shooting a 3-over 75, finishing his first two rounds at 4-over after a 73 on Thursday.
As of about 4 p.m. on Friday, the projected cut was at plus-5. If Tianlang had not been assessed the penalty he would have safely qualified for the weekend. However, at 4-over he is perilously close to being sent home.
“I’m sick. He’s 14 years old. I’m so sorry this happened,” said Ben Crenshaw, one of Tianlang’s playing partners, after the round. “… This isn’t going to wind up pretty.”
Not under the jurisdiction of the PGA Tour, The Masters has its own governing body for the tournament. In this case, John Paramor, normally a rules official on the European PGA Tour, informed Tianlang of the penalty.
Slow play penalties are extremely rare in major championships, and they’re even more rare on the PGA Tour. The last time such a penalty was assessed on a regular Tour event was in 1995, and the last time at a major was the 2004 PGA Championship.
The rainy conditions on Friday and some quirky Masters rules might actually work in Tianlang’s favor, however. While the projected cut remains at plus-5, Mark Leishman leads the tournament at 6-under. All players within 10 strokes of the lead are allowed to play the weekend.