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The Masters: In with the new but not yet out with the old as Lyle enjoys strong finish

When Sandy Lyle knocked a classy eight-iron to within 10-feet on the first hole and rolled in the birdie putt, you half expected him to turn to his teenage playing partner Tianlang Guan and say: "Beat that ya wee nyaff."

Sandy Lyle, right, played out the final day of the Masters alongside teenager Tianlang Guan, who won the silver cup as leading amateu
Sandy Lyle, right, played out the final day of the Masters alongside teenager Tianlang Guan, who won the silver cup as leading amateu

It was a generation game on the final day of the Masters at Augusta. Lyle, the 55-year-old Scot who won the green jacket a quarter of a century ago, versus Guan, the 14-year-old Chinese prodigy who dreams of winning all four majors in one season.

It would be fair to say that the sizeable gallery following the second match of the closing round was not there to watch Sandy. He tried his best to grab their attention, mind you, and that opening three set the former Open champion on his way to a one-under 71 and a nine-over aggregate of 297.

Guan, meanwhile, whose eye-catching debut in the season's opening major was soured by the one-stroke penalty he received for slow play on Friday, signed off from his campaign with 75 for a tally of 300. The old master had taught the young pretender a lesson.

"I think he was quite surprised how well the old farts can play," said Lyle with a smile. "It was very interesting to watch him. Remember he's only 14. In three years you'll probably see a huge difference. If he can stay untouched by too many teachers and just play his natural game, then he'll be in good shape."

Guan, who earned the silver cup as the leading amateur in the field, has his own big ambitions in the game but hopes and dreams are not the sole preserve of the young. "What Tom Watson did [when he nearly won the Open in 2009, while aged 59] really keeps us all going," said Lyle. "We all wish he had won but it gives us hope, it certainly gives me hope. If I stay healthy, there's no reason why I couldn't do the same thing. But it's going to be a tall order."

Lyle's fellow Scot Paul Lawrie ended the "most frustrating week of my career" with a one-under 71 for a 292 total. The 44-year-old former Open champion birdied two of his first three holes as he made a flying start but the old woes with the putter put the brakes on his charge.

His anguish on the greens was illustrated on the par-three fourth, where he plonked his tee-shot to within 20-feet of the flag, rolled his first putt up to three-feet and took another three jabs to get down in a momentum-shattering double-bogey five.

"I missed nine putts from inside 10 feet and six putts inside four feet," groaned the Ryder Cup player. "I can't play any better and putt any worse unfortunately, but we're getting used to that. It's just demoralising. This has been the most frustrating week of my career.

"On Thursday I didn't deserve any better. Four over was about right. But Friday, Saturday and Sunday? Man, I played some golf this week and putted just like an idiot."

As Lawrie slumped out of Magnolia Lane, young master Guan was left to reflect on a remarkable week. "It's not easy to play here, to make the cut and be low amateur," he said. "I think I did a pretty good job this week."

Guan, the youngest player to compete in the Masters, is eager to come back to Augusta and win the green jacket "as soon as possible".

As for Lyle? "I'm back to the old farts next week on the Senior Tour."

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152010