Friday, 19 March 2010
Maybank Malaysian Open - Round One  (Getty Images)
Maybank Malaysian Open - Round One (Getty Images)

Korean teenager Noh Seung-yul enjoyed a stellar start to the Maybank Malaysian Open, carding a ten under par 62 to take a one stroke lead after the opening round.

The 17 year old fired an eagle and nine birdies against a lone bogey at Saujana Golf and Country Club's Palm Course to edge ahead of playing partner Alexander Noren of Sweden in the US$ 2,000,000 event, which is co-sanctioned by The European and Asian Tours.

Former Asian Tour Order of Merit winner Liang Wen-chong of China and France's Jean-Franḉois Lucquin were tied for third after shooting seven under 65s while Nick Dougherty finished strongly to join Australia's Adam Blyth and local favourite Danny China in fifth, a further shot back.

Noh, last year's Asian Tour Rookie of the Year, began his round on the back nine with a poor tee shot at the tenth but recovered to sink his first birdie of the day from 45 feet.

Playing partner Noren set the pace for much of the morning after opening with four consecutive birdies and going out in six under.

But Noh kept in touch with the Swede and overhauled him with an eagle at the par five seventh and his ninth birdie of the day on the eighth.

The lone blemish on the Korean's round was a bogey on the par three fifth but the youngster had much to smile about after his magnificent opening effort.

"I didn't make any mistakes and I putted really well to post a good score," said Noh, who won the Midea China Classic and had three runner-up finishes on his debut season on the Asian Tour.

"I'm happy but you don't win a tournament on the first day.

"The eagle on seven was pretty special but with a ten under, every moment was a highlight."

Noren had nine birdies in his bogey free 63 and Noh admitted the Swede's good play was a motivating factor for himself.

"He played well at the start of the round," said Noh, an admirer of KJ Choi and Australian ace Adam Scott.

"I wasn't thinking of beating him but I just tried to catch him during the round. He pushed me along."

Noren, who has yet to win on The European Tour, was impressed by the teenager.

"He is unbelievable," said the Swede. "Our first hole was the tenth and he hit his tee shot way right and I thought to myself he might be a little bit nervous.

"Next thing I know he knocks it on the green and makes the putt for birdie. Obviously he wasn't too nervous.

"He was just unbelievable. I seemed to be one ahead of him all day but then he birdied four, eagled seven and birdied eight to get one ahead of me."

Having fired a nine over 81 at Saujana two years ago, Noren was much happier with his opening effort this time around.

"I played here two years ago and found it very tough so either I'm getting better or the course is getting easier," he quipped.

"I had bad memories of this place but I love it now."

Dougherty was one of the few players teeing off in the afternoon to make an impression on the top of the leaderboard after a strong finish to his round.

"It was good and I played really well," said the Englishman. "To finish birdie-par-birdie-eagle always helps as well.

"I hit two great shots into the last and nearly holed my second as well so it was a very pleasing finish.

"I played better than I was scoring on the front nine but it paid me back over the last few holes."


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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1KANG, AnthonyUSA18-17
T2MARKSAENG, PrayadTHA18-16
T2RANDHAWA, JyotiIND18-16
T2TUNNICLIFF, MilesENG18-16
T2HORSEY, DavidENG18-16
6MAYBIN, GarethNIR18-15
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