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Golf | US PGA Tour

Guan Tianlang © Gallo Images

Guan aims to keep improving at Byron Nelson



Chinese youngster Guan Tianlang is building quite a resume on the US PGA Tour, and the 14-year-old will try to embellish it further at the Byron Nelson Championship this week.

Guan received a sponsor's exemption into the field for the $6.7 million tournament at the TPC Four Seasons resort in Irving, in suburban Dallas, Texas.

American Jason Dufner returns to defend the title he won in 2012, one of eight former winners in a field that also features eight major champions and four of 2013's tournament victors.

World No 7 Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa is the highest-ranked player in the field.

Despite the spotlight focused on him after an impressive performance at the Masters, Guan says he's just hoping to enjoy the experience – and if possible maintain his perfect record in cuts made in US PGA events.

In April, Guan became the youngest golfer to play the Masters and made the cut – earning the Silver Cup as the best amateur at the year's first major tournament.

He made the cut again playing on a sponsor's exemption at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, finishing 71st.

Asked if his goals had changed since those two finishes, the poised youngster said he just wants to keep improving.

"For this week I want to enjoy the experience here and, yeah, make the cut," he said. "And if I make the cut, play better and better."

Guan smoothly fielded questions on Wednesday on his plans for the rest of the season – he failed to qualify for the Open Championship and hasn't yet decided if he'll try to qualify for the US Open.

He also dealt with questions about his impressions of the United States, and the difficulty of juggling school and golf.

"It's always not easy to balance school and golf, but I did a pretty good job so far," said Guan, adding that his parents help him out when he's on the road to play.

"When I go back to China, I go to school like a normal eighth-grader," he added.

"What Guan has been able to accomplish at such a young age is very impressive," tournament chairman Mike McKinley said when he announced Guan's exemption.

"We have always had a tradition of identifying young talent and giving them an opportunity to compete at the Nelson, and we look forward to continuing that with Guan."

Local favourite Jordan Spieth is one of the young golfers who has gained experience at the Nelson. The 19-year-old will play this event for the third time in the last four years, and for the first time as a professional.

Dufner hasn't won since his victory in this event last year, when his second-round 66 put him in control and he held on over the weekend and birdied the 72nd hole for a one-stroke victory over Dicky Pride.

Dufner is hoping a return to the scene of his last success will help h9im turn around a season in which he has yet to post a top-10 finish.

"It's been definitely pretty frustrating for me, but I'm trying to keep working on areas of my game that need to improve, and looking forward to putting some good rounds together," Dufner said.

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