Noh out to push Merit claims
Noh Seung-yul plans to launch a title bid in his debut at the UBS Hong Kong Open to seal the Asian Tour's Order of Merit title.
Last Updated: 17/11/10 3:03pm
Korea's Noh Seung-yul is looking for a big performance at the Hong Kong Open to help seal a maiden Asian Tour Order of Merit title.
This week's tournament at Fanling could potentially be the teenager's final event in Asia this season as he will undergo corrective laser eye surgery in early December.
Currently $243,220 ahead of second-placed Marcus Fraser on the money-list, Noh, 19, accepts his bid to become Asia's youngest number one in history depends largely on this week's outing.
"I'm going to be working hard to try to clinch the Order of Merit. I'm looking forward to it," stated the reigning Malaysian Open champion.
"There are several tournaments left but this is a critical one as it could be my last event in Asia. I'm scheduled for laser eye surgery and because it will take six weeks to recover, I need to time it right to get ready for 2011.
"Therefore, I'm going to try to get a big lead on the Merit race so that my closest challengers will not have a chance to catch me."
The talented Korean, currently ranked 67th in the world, missed his first cut of the season in Singapore last week but insists he is not overly worried about his disappointing performance.
Instead he is focusing on events in Hong Kong where he will be making his debut this week.
"I struggled on the greens. Over the last few years, I've never really played well in Singapore, so I wasn't too disappointed," Noh continued.
"I had the opportunity to play in the last two UBS Hong Kong Opens but as I was competing in the PGA Tour qualifying school, I had to miss this. So it's the first time I'm playing here and it feels like I'm making my professional debut."
Yang looking to shine
Noh's compatriot Y.E Yang will also be competing in the co-sanctioned Asian Tour and European Tour event, which boasts a number of big names including Graeme McDowell, Rory McIlroy, Miguel Angel Jimenez and Ian Poulter and their Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie.
Yang is still battling to overcome a neck injury sustained in Singapore, but remains hopeful of turning around a poor recent run of form.
"I have to really pace myself and try to not aggravate anything. I'll still try to put on a good show," stated the 2009 USPGA champion.
"I've not played exceptionally well in Hong Kong, finishing in the mid-20s previously. Hopefully I can get it right this week and break this little slump of mine."
Thai star Thongchai Jaidee, the reigning Asian number one, is relishing the opportunity to improve on his second and third place finishes in the event in 2006 and 2007, although he is hoping his putter heats up.
"My game is feeling good but the putting has not been very good. I'm still working hard at it. It's not been good for three or four months," said the 12-time winner in Asia.
"You need to be on top of your game plan to do well. If I putt well, I'll have a good chance."