China's teenage golf sensation Guan Tianling was penalised for slow play at the Masters on Friday, jeopardising his chances of becoming the youngest player ever to make the cut at a major championship.
Officials imposed a rare one-stroke penalty on the 14-year-old after he was warned for taking too much time during his second round at Augusta National.
With the addition of the penalty, Guan completed a second round of three-over-par 75 for a 36-hole total of four-over, leaving him right on the cusp of the projected cut.
"I think my routine is pretty good, it was just the wind switching," Guan said in a televised interview after his round.
"I respect their decision. It's still been a wonderful experience for me. I think I did a pretty good job."
Slow play has been a contentious issue in golf for years but players are rarely penalised. The last time it happened at a major was in 2004 when Steve Lowry was docked a stroke at the PGA Championship.
"There's no question he played slowly at times but he was working things out," veteran Ben Crenshaw, one of Guan's playing partners, told reporters.
Guan's other playing partner, Italian Matteo Manassero, said the young Chinese did play slowly but he was not bothered by it.
"From my point of view, I didn't get so much affected by it because I was hitting last, so I was taking my time and it didn't feel too slow to me," Manassero said.
"But the times are saying that it was sometimes too slow."
Fred Ridley, chairman of the Masters competition committee, issued a statement saying the group was deemed to be out of position on the 10th hole.
Guan began being timed on the 12th hole and was warned for slow play after his second shot on the 13th. He was then penalised after his second shot on the 17th exceeded the 40-second limit "by a considerable margin".
"This isn't going to end up pretty, I don't think," said Crenshaw. "I'm sick for him. He's 14 years old...when you get the wind blowing out here, believe me, you're going to change your mind a lot.
"I'm sorry, I'm a player. It is not easy to get around this golf course the way it's set up for two days."
Already the youngest player to compete at the Masters, Guan will become the youngest player to make the cut at a major if his score is good enough.
The current record is held by Manassero, who was just 16 when he made it to the final two rounds at the 2009 British Open.