Dou Ze-cheng became the youngest player to make the cut in the history of the Volvo China Open as a level par 72 saw the 16 year old safely through to the weekend at Binhai Lake Golf Club.
The qualifier reached halfway on two under par after his opening 70, at 16 years and 101 days becoming the seventh youngest player in European Tour history to survive the cut – a record recently broken by compatriot Guan Tian-lang at the Masters Tournament.
“I felt good when I started, but I struggled a bit on the back nine,” said Dou, who plans to travel to America and attempt to qualify for the US Open after this event.
“I am happy with the score, and feel excited to make the cut - now I will enjoy my game through the weekend - I am not thinking too much about the score, just try my best, and get more experience.”
Another of China’s young guns, Ye Wo-cheng, signed off with a second consecutive 79 as the 12 year old – the youngest player to feature on The European Tour – missed the cut on 14 over par.
“I played very well on the front nine, so I was very happy at the beginning,” said Ye, who turned in 37.
“I was a bit less nervous today, which is why I played well at the start. But then on the back nine I struggled a little bit, which was a bit disappointing. Overall I’m still pretty happy with how I played.
“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. I’m looking forward to the next time I can play out here.”
Ye’s coach David Watson was delighted with his protégée’s performance.
“He’s surpassed all my expectations, especially from a mental perspective,” he said. “There are so many positives to take from the week. I’m sure there will be some negative press from people saying he shouldn’t be in the tournament at 12, and they’ll point to his scores of 79-79 as evidence to back it up. But I’m sure when we look back on this in four or five years’ time, the experience will have benefitted him enormously.
“Obviously there were a couple of times out there when he maybe showed his naivety and inexperience, but overall he did great. You can’t forget he is a 12 year old, playing in a man’s world. I’m sure the sponsors are happy he’s been playing in the tournament, because it’s brought great exposure for them and for Chinese golf in general, which can only be a good thing.”