Lifestyle & Belief

Ye Wocheng, 12, youngest to ever play pro golf in China


Ye Wocheng of China plays a shot during the second day of the Volvo China Open at Binhai Lake Golf Course on May 3, 2013 in Tianjin, China. He's the youngest to ever play on the European Tour.


Lintao Zhang

If you thought a 14-year-old golfer at the Masters was something to behold, meet Ye Wocheng.

He’s 12 and he just competed at the China Open, the youngest to ever play the European Tour.

Once upon a time, Tiger Woods, Sergio Garcia and Michelle Wie were golf’s baby-faced assassins.

Woods, of course, is threatening to win more tournaments than any player before him, a trend he began at age 21. Garcia, or El Nino, is an established pro considered a threat to win every tournament he enters since turning pro at age 19 in 1999. Wie, the Big Wiesy, turned pro as she turned 16 and immediately started challenging to compete in men’s tournaments, now a seasoned pro at 23.

By the end of the summer, they could be grizzled veterans judging by the performances on tour this weekend.

Ye didn’t make the cut in China, but he certainly made waves.

He shot back-to-back scores of 79, or 7-over par, meaning he’ll have to wait until next week for another chance at winning his first tournament.

“Golf is a hard game to play at this level of competition and on these courses, but I feel I will soon be ready for it,” Ye told the Daily Mirror. “I’m looking forward to the next time I can play out here.”

Amazingly, there is another teenager competing this weekend in China.

Where Ye failed, 16-year-old Dou Zecheng, also of China, broke a record of his own by becoming the youngest ever to make the cut on the European Tour. He shot 70-72 for a 2-under par total and will compete on the weekend.

“I am happy with my scores, and feel excited to make the cut, so I will enjoy my game through the weekend,” Dou said, according to the Associated Press. “I am not thinking too much about my score, just try my best, and get some more experience.”

The third name to remember is Bai Zhengkai, 15, who won China’s Junior Match Play championship earlier this year for the right to compete at the China Open.

Of course, they’re all following in the footsteps of Guan Tianlang, who competed on America’s greatest golfing stage last month at the Masters. He made the cut and finished as the top-scoring amateur all at the tender age of 14.

Proving golf just isn’t for boys, 17-year-old Ariya Jutangarn of Thailand bettered her male counterparts this weekend in Williamsburg, Virginia.

Jutangarn set a blistering pace on Day 1, shooting 7-under par 64 for a 2-stroke lead over her fellow LPGA competitors at the Kingsmill Championship.

That’s even better than her sister, Moriya, who is the top LPGA rookie this season after five top-30 finishes already.

Moriya is a venerable veteran by comparison to this list. She turns 19 on July 28.

More from GlobalPost: Tianlang Guan, youngest ever to compete at Masters, is just 14