Paul Casey’s withdrawal from this week’s US Open has seen teenage prodigy, Andy Zhang, handed the opportunity to play in his maiden Major at just 14-years old.
Casey’s shoulder injury has forced the Englishman to accept defeat in his battle to be fit in time for the season’s second Major, opening the door for the Chinese-born Florida-based Zhang.
Zhang had only narrowly missed out on qualifying for the tournament. However, he has now been included as one of two amateurs in the field at the Olympic Club, in San Francisco, with Jordan Spieth also in the field, after replacing Brandt Snedeker.
The youngster makes his debut as a 949/1 outsider in the US Open 2012 betting odds.
Zhang will now become the youngest ever player to line up at the US Open, breaking a record that has stood since 1865. The teenager has admitted he is just looking to enjoy the experience, and take everything in from his debut Major.
“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,” Zhang admitted.
Casey, meanwhile, will have to focus on fully recovering from an injury that has been bothering the former world number three since he picked it up during his Christmas break.
The 34-year missed the cut at the Masters, in April, with the injury still bothering him, and Casey has now admitted he is not ready for the US Open.
“You’re always disappointed to miss time due to injury, but it’s especially true when you have to withdraw from the US Open,” said Casey. “I’ve been trying to play my way back, and I feel like I probably came back too soon originally.
“It’s affecting my ability right now to be ready for the test of a Major. I do feel like I’m very nearly ready, but not quite ready for this week.”
For information on the next Major on the golf calendar – the Open Championship – visit the Betfair British Open 2012 odds page.