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Devil Ball Golf

14-year-old Andy Zhang gets a rude introduction to the U.S. Open

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A long way from nap time. (Getty Images)

Welcome to the U.S. Open, Andy Zhang.  Hope you survive the experience.

At age 14, Zhang is the youngest player ever to compete in a U.S. Open. He's so young he wasn't even born when Tiger Woods won his first major. But thanks to some astounding golf and some good luck, Zhang found his way into the field for the 112th U.S. Open at Olympic.

But Olympic doesn't go easy on you just because you're not yet in high school. It didn't take long for Zhang to realize just how hard a U.S. Open can be. Behold his run:

Hole 1: Triple bogey
Hole 2: Double bogey
Hole 3: Bogey
Hole 4: Bogey
Hole 5: Bogey

... you get the idea. Five holes in and he was already 8-over.

But here's the thing. Zhang settled down and, after a birdie-bogey exchange at 7 and 8, ran off a long string of pars that kept him at plus-8 for much of the rest of the round. And as devastating as that beginning was, he found himself tied for a time with none other than Masters champ Bubba Watson. Sure, they're both staring down at last place just below their feet, but for Zhang's purposes, so what?

Chances are good Zhang, who finished with a 9-over 79, won't make the cut on Friday, so we won't get the chance to see him play the weekend. But chances are very good that we'll be seeing much, much more of him in years to come ... and with much lower scores.

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