Tuesday, June 12, 2012

14-Year-Old Zhang Makes US Open



14-Year-Old Zhang Makes US Open, Paul Casey has been forced to withdraw from the US Open through injury, with teenager Zhang taking his place in San Francisco. Having hoped he was over the shoulder dislocation he suffered snowboarding on Christmas Eve, England's former world number three is not yet fit for the rigours of a major. That led to a call for China-born, Florida-based prodigy Zhang - the youngest player in the tournament since the second world war - who narrowly missed out on qualifying in a play-off.
Chang was joined in the main draw by fellow amateur Jordan Spieth, a member of last year's American Walker Cup side in Aberdeen. The Texan takes the place of compatriot Brandt Snedeker, out because of a rib injury.
"[When I got the call] my mind just went blank," said Zhang. "Then, I said "Wait! What? I am in the US Open?" Who is Andy Zhang?
He is due to play a practice round with Masters champion Bubba Watson toay, prompting his caddie Christopher Gold to say: "You can play with whomever you want. Why not Bubba?"
Zhang will tee-off at 16:21 BST in Thursday's first round alongside Japan's Hiroyuki Fujita, 42, and 37-year-old Mark Wilson of the United States.Casey missed the first two months of the season, but after four missed cuts in a row on his return - including The Masters at Augusta - things were looking up when he finished 25th in Korea in late April. But the 34-year-old then had to withdraw after nine holes of the Players Championship in Florida, pulled out of the Volvo World Match Play in Spain and shot rounds of 78 and 76 to miss yet another cut in the BMW PGA Championship three weeks ago.
That remains his last competitive action.
"I so want to play and it's so frustrating," Casey said at Wentworth. "I've got to get my brain to trust that I can't hurt it any more. It's amazing how the brain controls the body almost involuntarily."
He is down to 58th in the world rankings and likely to fall even further this week, while the odds on him returning to the Ryder Cup team - he was not picked by Colin Montgomerie two years ago despite being world number nine at the time - are getting longer all the time.
Captain Jose Maria Olazabal said after hearing that the 11-time European Tour winner had pulled out of the Memorial Tournament two weeks ago: "I feel really sorry for him. We all know how good he can play.
"All I am hoping is that he gets healthy again and shows form. I wish him the very best."Paul Casey has been forced to withdraw from the US Open through injury, with the 14-year-old Andy Zhang taking his place in San Francisco.

Having hoped he was over the shoulder dislocation he suffered snowboarding on Christmas Eve, England's former world No3 is not yet fit for the rigours of a major.

That led to a call for the China-born, Florida-based prodigy Zhang – the youngest player in the tournament since the second world war – who narrowly missed out on qualifying in a play-off.

"You're always disappointed to miss time due to injury, but it's especially true when you have to withdraw from the US Open," said Casey.

"I've been trying to play my way back and I feel like I probably came back too soon originally.

"It's affecting my ability right now to be ready for the test of a major. I do feel like I'm very nearly ready, but not quite ready for this week."

There is a chance of him playing at the BMW International Open in Cologne next week. Casey missed the first two months of the season, but after four missed cuts in a row on his return – including The Masters at Augusta – things were looking up when he finished 25th in Korea in late April.

But the 34-year-old then had to withdraw after nine holes of the Players Championship in Florida, pulled out of the Volvo World Match Play in Spain and shot rounds of 78 and 76 to miss yet another cut in the BMW PGA Championship three weeks ago.

That remains his last competitive action. "I so want to play and it's so frustrating," Casey said at Wentworth. "I've got to get my brain to trust that I can't hurt it any more. It's amazing how the brain controls the body almost involuntarily."

He is down to 58th in the world rankings and likely to fall even further this week, while the odds on him returning to the Ryder Cup team – he was not picked by Colin Montgomerie two years ago despite being world number nine at the time – are getting longer all the time.

The captain José María Olazábal said after hearing that the 11-times European Tour winner had pulled out of the Memorial Tournament two weeks ago: "I feel really sorry for him. We all know how good he can play.

"All I am hoping is that he gets healthy again and shows form. I wish him the very best."

Chang was joined in the main draw by his fellow amateur Jordan Spieth, a member of last year's American Walker Cup side in Aberdeen. The Texan takes the place of the compatriot Brandt Snedeker, out because of a rib injury.Paul Casey has been forced to withdraw from the 2012 US Open Championship with a recurrence of his shoulder injury.

He will be replaced by Andy Zhang, a 14 year old amateur from Reunion, Florida, who will become the youngest player to compete in the US Open in the post war era.

"You're always disappointed to miss time due to injury but it's especially true when you have to withdraw from the US Open," said Casey. "I've been trying to play my way back from my shoulder injury, and I feel like I probably came back too soon originally and it's affecting my ability right now to be ready for the test of a Major. I do feel like I'm very nearly ready but not quite ready for this week."

Zhang, born on December 14, 1997, competed in sectional qualifying at Black Diamond Ranch (Quarry Course) at Lecanto, Florida. on June 4, shooting rounds of 70, 72 for a total of 142 to earn first alternate position.

Zhang, who is originally from the People’s Republic of China, will become the youngest to play in a US Open since World War II. Tadd Fujikawa previously held that distinction; he was 15 at the 2006 Open at Winged Foot Golf Club

Earlier this year China's Guan Tian-lang became the youngest player to compete on The European Tour when he teed up in the Volvo China Open aged13 years 173 days. And just last weekend Feng Shanshan became the first Chinese golfer to win a Major when she won the the LPGA Championship.

Zhang will tee off at 8:21 a.m. PDT on Thursday from the 1st tee with Hiroyuki Fujita and Mark Wilson.Injured golfer Paul Casey is to be replaced by a 14-year-old at this year's US Open - the youngest player at the tournament since the Second World War.China-born Andy Zhang enters the field after Casey's ongoing injury problems ruled him out of contention for the competition, which starts on Thursday.

The previous youngest competitor in the post-war era was Tadd Fujikawa, who was 15 at the 2006 US Open at Winged Foot, according to the US Golf Association.

Casey has been beset by injuries this year, and missed the first two months of the season following a snowboarding accident at Christmas.

"You're always disappointed to miss time due to injury, but it's especially true when you have to withdraw from the US Open," the world number three admitted.

Zhang, who attends the IMG Golf Academy in Florida, narrowly missed a 33-foot eagle attempt on his last hole in the US Open qualifying, then lost a playoff to Brooks Koepka to settle for alternate status.

The teenager is scheduled to tee off at 1821 local time on Thursday from Olympic Club's Lake Course, alongside Hiroyuki Fujita of Japan and American Mark Wilson.

Brandt Snedeker also withdrew Monday because of injury, with amateur Jordan Spieth of Texas taking his place in the field.

14-Year-Old Zhang Makes US Open Rating: 4.5 Diposkan Oleh: Arm Aritn

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