Remember when teenagers were qualifying for PGA Tour and European Tour events and that was totally crazy for us all? Old news. We now have pre-teens making it into huge professional events in men's golf.
That kid you see to the right is Ye Wocheng, a 12-year-old who lives in the city of Donggaun in the Guangdong province of China and apparently is a pretty impressive golfer. How impressive? His two-round total of 142 was low enough to land him a spot in the Volvo China Open that kicks off May 2.
The craziest part? Wocheng didn't just qualify, but at one point was leading the entire qualifier!
After shooting an opening four-under 68 on Tuesday, Ye raced to the turn in his second round leading the field on seven-under after four birdies.
Then the pressure began to tell on a tumultuous back nine. He dropped shots at 11 and 14 - but then calmed down and rallied with a birdie at the 15th. Then there was more drama at the par five 16th where he appeared to be having a complete meltdown - carding an eight.
The good news was his early play was low enough to allow him to struggle down the stretch and land just one of three spots at the Western China qualifier, and I guess you can't help but cut him a little slack for struggling late since he's 12-freaking-years-old.
It is stories like these that make a 29-year-old who used to think he was a pretty decent golfer just roll his eyes and then take some Advil for his aching back. How in the world are kids this composed mentally to be doing the things they're doing these days? It doesn't surprise me that younger and younger kids are shooting crazy low numbers, but what I'm amazed by is how they're able to do it for long stretches, like a 36-hole qualifier.
And when does this stop? Will an 11-year-old qualify one day for a pro event? 10? Will we see a single-digit kid do this? I'm starting to think the PGA Tour's "versus" ad campaign that shows young Rory McIlroy facing young Keegan Bradley might have just been a preview of what the tour might look like in 2035. Just a bunch of toddlers out there smacking the golf ball around, shooting 65 while all the adults stare in disbelief with their banned belly putters wondering when it all changed.
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