14-year-old Andy Zhang will play in the U.S. Open after Paul Casey and Brendt Snedeker pulled out with injuries yesterday.Zhang grew up in China but moved to the U.S. when he was 10 to attend a golf academy in Florida.
Last week he lost an Open sectional qualifier in Florida — making him the second alternate when the week began. Now he will become the youngest-ever competitor at a U.S. Open.
Based on Golf Week’s records, Zhang has only played eight major competitive events in his life — all of them on the junior circuit. But his coach says he has consistently been winning smaller mini-tour events around Florida.
He’s already 6 feet tall, and has all sorts of talent. Here’s what his coach told CBS Sports:
“Andy hits it miles and miles. He’s got a very good head on his shoulders. He couldn’t speak any English when he got here, and now we can’t keep him quiet. He is very outgoing.”
His coach went even further in a tweet this morning, comparing his student to Tiger Woods (via Steve Elling):
And here’s what his caddie told Golf Week:
“This kid is the best player I have ever seen at 14. He hits shots that pros can’t hit.”
His story is even more unlikely because he stopped playing competitively for six months last year due to a back injury.
Here’s a 40-second interview with him:
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