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Andy Zhang: History in the Making

Andy Zhang: History in the Making

As Andy Zhang went for the sectional qualifying round for the US Open, his father told him, “Just play your best, and if you finish in the top 30, I’ll be proud of you.” It was a realistic and conservative expectation for his 14-year-old son. The young man did his best and ended up third with a tie.

Andy again had modest expectations as he headed to Orlando, Florida, as an alternate for the US Open. “They told me it was 50-50 I’d get in, but I didn’t think it was that good. I mean, who wouldn’t want to play in this tournament?” the teenager said.

But luck was on his side. Chris Gold, Andy’s trainer said, “Jeff called and said, ‘He can play if he wants.’ I said, ‘What does that mean?’ He said, ‘He’s in.’” This makes Andy the youngest player in the history of the Open, following the withdrawals of Paul Casey and Brandt Snedeker.

Andy reacted with joy and disbelief when he learned about his acceptance into the event. “I will just try to enjoy it as much as possible. I want to play well, but just to play on a major championship course is great,” the lad said. One of the perks of his participation is the right to use a courtesy Lexus that he is not yet old enough to drive.

The Zhang family didn’t expect things to happen so soon, because Andy was forced to take a year-long break from golf in 2010 due to a back injury. The young man has been consistently impressive since he resumed playing last summer. Most of his competitors are two to three years older than he is.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if he makes the cut. He’s got so much talent,” Gold said.

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