Published : 2014-04-28 09:06
Updated : 2014-04-28 09:06
South Korean Noh Seung-yul earned his first career PGA Tour win in New Orleans on Sunday.
Noh fired a 19-under over four rounds at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans for the monumental victory, becoming the fourth South Korean to win on the world's premier golf tour. Choi Kyoung-ju, Yang Yong-eun and Bae Sang-moon found the winner's circle before the 22-year-old.
Noh began the final round as the leader at 18-under, and put together a steady final round of 1-under 71 to secure a two-shot victory over Andrew Svoboda and Robert Streb.
Noh opened with a bogey on the first hole but got a shot back with a birdie on the eighth. He picked up another birdie on the 10th. He then traded two birdies with two bogeys the rest of the back nine to pick up the winner's check of $1.22 million.
Noh played the final round wearing a yellow ribbon on the back of his cap in tribute to the victims of the Sewol ferry sinking in South Korea. In a post-tournament interview televised on CBS in the United States, Noh said he wanted to give people back home positive energy with his performance in Louisiana.
A month shy of his 23rd birthday, Noh is the youngest PGA Tour winner in 2014.
Noh made his PGA Tour debut in 2012, after putting in time on the Asian Tour. He was named the Rookie of the Year on the Asian Tour in 2008 and won the money title there in 2011. In 2010, Noh captured the Maybank Malaysian Open, co-sanctioned by the Asian and the European Tours, and became the second-youngest winner on the European Tour at 18 years and 282 days.
Noh finished 49th on the PGA Tour money list in 2012 to retain his playing card for the following year. In 2013, however, he slipped to 153rd on the money list but won an event on the second-tier Web.com Tour to earn his PGA Tour playing privileges for 2014.
The Zurich Classic gives Noh an exemption through the 2015-2016 PGA Tour season. He has also earned invitations to the PGA Championship this year and the Masters next year, as well as The Players Championship, called the "fifth major," early next month.
Noh was nursing a two-stroke advantage at the start of the day and those near the top of the leaderboard played their way out of contention in the early going.
Keegan Bradley, Noh's playing partner two shots back of the South Korean after Saturday, committed a disastrous triple bogey on the par-4 sixth hole en route to a 3-over 75 on Sunday.
Streb made a run with an eagle on the second and consecutive birdies on the seventh and eighth, before hitting his tee shot into the water on the par-3 ninth.
Noh got a lucky break on the par-4 13th. He tried to drive the green but found the rough back of the green. His second shot from a bad lie appeared to be rolling off the green before it hit the flag stick and dropped close to the hole, setting up an easy birdie putt for the eventual champ.
Noh saved par after missing the green on the par-3 17th and closed out his tournament with another par on the par-5 closing hole.
In 2002, Choi earned his first PGA Tour win at the same tournament, when it was called the Compaq Classic. (Yonhap)