“It was transition time for me taking part in a few professional occasions as an novice,” mentioned Yuan, who gained the Qingdao Championship in July, just some months after deciding to depart the College of Washington after three years. “I acquired used to what professional golf appears like, so I don’t really feel dangerous that I gained with out getting paid.
“In all probability if I turned professional early, I could not have even gained that.”
Yuan, 21, as an alternative entered the professional ranks with a great deal of confidence. After representing China within the Asian Video games, he started his professional profession in August with three straight top-10s on the PGA Tour China and final month teed it up in his first World Golf Championships occasion, the place he tied for 35th in a subject that includes a lot of the world’s greatest gamers.
Yuan, who earned his spot as one of many prime six ranked golfers on the planet rankings (he’s presently No. 466), opened with 78 at Sheshan Worldwide in Shanghai, however recovered, capturing his greatest spherical, a third-round 70, alongside Rory McIlroy and Kevin Na. Yuan beat each gamers by a mixed 12 pictures that day.
“For me to see Carl, so long as I’ve identified him, taking part in with Rory and stepping up on the primary tee and hitting it 340 proper down the center, it was actually cool to see,” mentioned Yuan’s longtime swing coach Holton Freeman, who works out of the Foley Efficiency Academy at EaglesDream in Lake Mary, Fla. “There have been a variety of occasions the place Rory would step up on a par-Three and hit a very good shot and Carl would step up proper behind him and hit the identical actual shot. … It was cool to see Carl with these guys and appear to be the perfect participant within the group despite the fact that he’s to this point behind them in expertise and all that stuff.”
Freeman has seen Yuan remodel from a chubby teenager with tons of uncooked expertise throughout the board right into a health- and fitness-conscious younger man with the maturity to match his expertise. Enjoying alongside a four-time main winner in McIlroy, Freeman knew his pupil may deal with it. Yuan did, too.
“It wasn’t that massive of a deal,” Yuan mentioned. “I used to be extra relaxed taking part in with Rory and Kevin Na (than in another spherical). I don’t have any stress taking part in towards them. I’m a rookie. I simply turned professional two months in the past. What am I frightened of?”
This week, the competitors doesn’t function almost as many massive names, but it surely doesn’t imply it’s any simpler. Yuan is competing within the second stage of Internet.com Tour Q-College at Southern Hills Plantation in Brooksville, Fla., the place he sits 5 pictures again of the highest 18 and ties that advance to closing stage.
Even after capturing a 3-over 75 Wednesday, Yuan was in good spirits. He is aware of this isn’t the tip of the world for him. He plans to Monday qualify for the RSM Basic subsequent week and can play within the Australian PGA later this month. If he doesn’t earn his Internet.com Tour card, he has the PGA Tour China to fall again on.
He additionally needs to play extra in Europe subsequent yr.
“I’m excited to see the place professional golf takes me,” Yuan mentioned.