April 26, 2010
Friends, meet Noh Seung-yul of South Korea. He golfs. He's 18 years old. Oh, and he's in line to win the Asian Tour's Order of Merit honoring its top money-winner. Man, the world just keeps marching on, doesn't it?
Anyway, Noh finished T4 in last weekend's Ballantine's Championship behind winner Marcus Fraser. But the $138,000 check he collected put him at the top of the Asian Tour's earnings standings ahead of Andrew Dodt.
He aired his thoughts in a statement, which stinks because statements are dull as hell and 18-year-old kids usually aren't. But anyway, here it is: "I know if I win the order of merit, I’ll be the youngest player to do so but at the moment, I don’t want to think too far ahead as there are still many more events this year and things might change. I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself."
Noh learned how to play golf on the beach, where I sincerely hope there was a marine biologist nearby. His first big win came last month at the Malaysian Open, in which he became the youngest professional winner on the European Tour.
Most of the West will get its first look at Noh in the British Open, as he's qualified for that as well. It's far too early to predict a PGA Tour berth, but anybody that makes Rory McIlroy look like an old man is worth keeping an eye on.
In related news, the competing OneAsia Tour is facing a boycott of South Korean golfers displeased with OneAsia's qualification rules. The tour is absorbing tournaments which had been locals-only, and the players aren't pleased about dealing with what they say are quotas. However, the Korean Golf Association has said that the boycott will have no effect on the tour. It noted that they could be looking to China and Australia to fill the vacancies.
Teenager Noh targets record Asian Tour earnings crown [Reuters via Yahoo! Sports]