Noh is new kid in town at Whistling

South Korean teenager Noh Seung-yul normally competes in the shadow of his more celebrated countrymen Yang Yong-eun and KJ Choi.


But that changing this week as the 19-year-old from Gangwando sits near the top of the leaderboard for the second straight day after shooting a one-under 71 in the second round of the PGA Championship.

“I don’t play much on the PGA Tour so that is why I’m not famous back in Korea,” Noh said. “But after this, maybe I will be famous.”

When you think of South Korea’s golfing stars the first names that come to mind are PGA Championship defending champion Yang and seven time PGA Tour winner Choi.

But like most teenagers Noh can’t wait to put his own stamp on the sport.

“The European Tour is no only KJ Choi. KJ Choi and YE Yang are two great players though,” he said.

Noh needed a special invite to get into his first PGA Championship and he is making the most of it.

Asked what his chances are of winning his first major this weekend, Noh said, “I hope one day I can say yes. But there’s two more days left.”

Noh had four birdies, three bogeys and 11 pars and briefly held a share of the lead in the second round which was played under blustery conditions at the Whistling Straits course.

“I am so happy,” Noh said. “I have come here as an invite and I want to play as well as I can. It is a top-class event. It is a very big event for me. I won the Malaysian Open and that has given me a lot of confidence.

“I want to follow K.J. Choi and have done well this season. I have had a lot of good finishes this year and that gives me confidence to do well. This is a very tough course, though.”

As a seven-year-old, he started hitting golf balls at a beach near his home and it took only him 11 years to burst onto the Asian Tour scene in 2008 where he won the Midea China Classic and was named Rookie of the Year.

In March, he recorded a huge win in the Malaysian Open by holding off boyhood idol Choi in the final round, thanks to a heroic birdie on the 18th.

He is part of the talented crop of young guns competing in the majors along with Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy, American Rickie Fowler and Japan’s Ryo Ishikawa.

This is his third major of the season. He tied for 40th at the US Open but missed the cut at the British Open.

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