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12-year-old golfer Ye Wo-cheng shoots 79 on European Tour debut


Thursday 02 May 2013 15:57 BST
Struggle: Ye Wo-cheng became the youngest player in European Tour history
Struggle: Ye Wo-cheng became the youngest player in European Tour history (Getty)

Ye Wo-cheng had to settle for a round of 79 as he became the youngest player in European Tour history in the Volvo China Open today.

But 16-year-old Chinese compatriot Dou Ze-cheng carded a two-under-par 70 at Binhai Lake Golf Club in Tianjin to lie just two shots off the early clubhouse lead shared by France's Raphael Jacquelin and Thailand's Kiradech Aphibarnrat.

Ye is just 12 years and 242 days old and almost a year younger than the previous record holder Guan Tianlang, who famously made the cut at the Masters last month aged 14 and was 13 years and 177 days old when he played in the same event last year.

Guan missed the cut 12 months ago with rounds of 77 and 79 and Ye looks set to suffer the same fate after carding eight bogeys and just one birdie in his round.

Starting from the 10th, Ye opened with three pars before recovering from his first bogey on the 13th with a birdie on the next, while further dropped shots at the 16th and 17th took him to the turn in 38.

It was harder work on the back nine however, with five bogeys and four pars leaving him in a tie for 146th place midway through the first round.

Dou, who like Ye earned his place in the field after coming through qualifying events, had four birdies and two bogeys in his round of 70, while Jacquelin - who won last month's Spanish Open after a marathon nine-hole play-off - carded four birdies in a flawless 68.

"It's a great start, any time you have no bogeys and four birdies it's always a good day," Jacquelin said. "The wind's picking up now, so we were lucky to play seven or eight holes without much wind. The course gives you a few birdie chances, but there were some holes - like the fourth, ninth and 17th - which were playing really long into the wind.

"I'm playing really well at the moment. Obviously my win in Spain was amazing, and I guess it was always going to be hard to keep the same high level in Korea last week."

Aphibarnrat carded five birdies and one bogey in his 68 to continue a brilliant run of form that saw him finish fourth in the Avantha Masters, win the Malaysian Open the following week and then finish 11th in the Ballantine's Championship last week.

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