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Tiger Mark II?

Andy Zhang

Tiger Mark II?

Andy Zhang made golfing history at the US Open last week, as well as getting the chance to meet many of his sporting heroes.

Why is he in the news?

Zhang, who was born in Beijing but moved to Florida when he was 10, won a place at the US Open when British golfer Paul Casey was forced to pull out with injury.

Born in 1997 (the same year that Tiger Woods won his first major), Zhang is still only 14, which makes him the youngest player to start the tournament in its recorded history. Woods himself didn’t even attempt to qualify for the same event until he was 15.

How did he get on?

His opening holes were shaky, with a triple bogey followed by a double. And although he tightened up his score in later holes, Zhang still ended up missing the cut at the end of the second day.

That was no great humiliation, of course, as the course turned out to be a monster. Zhang dropped out in good company, joined by top-class players including Rory McIlroy and Luke Donald.

Zhang, who attends the David Leadbetter Academy in Orlando, still thought that the experience would help his career. Nor did he seem overawed by the occasion, although his caddy made sure to tell him early on not to ask fellow players for autographs.

Zhang could speak little English on arrival in the US four years ago, although last week there was little sign of that. Asked to speak in Mandarin for a TV interview, he tried to dodge the request. “Do I have to?” he pleaded. “Because I don’t feel like my Chinese is as good as my English.”

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