Chinese prodigy Guan to compete in HK Open

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Chinese prodigy Guan Tianlang will star in December's Hong Kong Open, organizers announced yesterday just weeks after he celebrated his 15th birthday.

The Guangzhou schoolboy sent shockwaves through the sport at the US Masters in April when, aged just 14 years, five months and 18 days, he became the youngest golfer to make the cut at a major tournament.

He will return to the world stage at the beginning of December at the Hong Kong Golf Club, where Spain's Miguel Angel Jimenez will defend his title.

"This year has just been an incredible journey for me. Making the cut at the Masters was a very special achievement for me and I hope to be able to produce a similar performance at the Hong Kong Golf Club in December," Guan said.

"When you get the opportunity to play against world class players you cannot refuse because it is the best environment to learn and gain experience."

Before he tees off at the US$1.3 million tournament, the teenager will take part in a special golf skills clinic, where he will meet children from four local schools. Hong Kong golfer Jason Hak will join Guan in the tournament.

In November 2008, aged 14, Hak made history as the youngest player to make the cut in a European Tour event at the Hong Kong Open. Guan will be hoping to make up for failing to defend his title at the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championships in October.

Elsewhere, China is fielding a strong team for Asia for this week's World Cup. Liang Wenchong won the Manila Masters in a playoff and donated half of his US$135,000 prize money to aid Philippines typhoon victims.

"I was really affected by what I saw of the damage and victims suffering from the aftermath of the typhoon ... I decided to donate 50 percent of my winnings to do my part and support the relief efforts," Liang said.

He will team up with Wu Ashun to represent China, one of 26 teams and eight individuals in the 60-man field for the World Cup beginning on Thursday.

K.J. Choi and this year's US PGA Tour Byron Nelson winner Bae Sang-moon will play for South Korea while Thailand will be represented by Asia No. 1 Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Prayad Marksaeng.

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