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Jeju Island, Korea: Three-time Major winner, Ernie Els of South Africa is aware of the strong Asian challenge at this week’s Ballantine’s Championship and Korea’s Noh Seung-yul is geared up to prove him right.


Teen sensation Noh will be inspired to upstage the star studded field on home soil in the €2.2 million (approximately US$2.9 million) showpiece that is sanctioned by the Asian Tour, European Tour and the Korea PGA.


“I've been playing in Asia since 1992 and I've seen the game and its players develop enormously in that time. I think it's fair to say that Korea is at the forefront of the Asian golf boom.


“The world knows all about the strength of women's golf here and now the men are coming through as well and I imagine there are players lining up to follow in the footsteps of guys like Y.E Yang and K.J Choi,” said Els who has more than 60 victories worldwide, including three Majors and seven World Match Play Championships.


Although Noh’s result at last year’s Ballantine’s Championship was a tied-46th finish, his position on the leaderboard this week could see a big jump after declaring that he is now a better player a year on.


“My game has improved a lot over the past year. I’m very focus and determined but I also try to enjoy my golf and do the best I can,” said Noh.


The 18-year-old has been getting rave reviews of his immense talent especially after his stunning victory over Choi in Malaysia for his second Asian Tour win last month.


“I didn’t want to put too much pressure on myself at the start of the season. Apart from my golf practises, I’ve been doing lots of weight training and aerobics so as to build up my stamina. Physically and mentally, I was ready for the new season ahead and I guess it was a pleasant surprise when I won my second Asian Tour title last month,” said Noh.


Noh served notice of his prodigious talent during his debut season on the Asian Tour in 2008. He chalked up four top-10s finishes including his maiden win at the Midea China Classic to be subsequently awarded the Rookie of the Year award for his sparkling season.


In 2009, he enjoyed nine top-10 finishes on the Asian Tour and completed a sensational run in Malaysia this year by not only winning the Maybank Malaysian Open but also qualified for the British Open at the International Final Qualifying – Asia.


A strong showing in front of his home fans at the Pinx Golf Club will catapult him to greater heights for the teenager who believes is ready to step up to the fore and join the ranks of his illustrious compatriots.


“I used to like Tiger Woods when I was growing up but now I don’t plan to look up to any players. I’m my greatest competitor now and I’m always trying to improve myself and play the best that I can,” said Noh.


The teenager already got his season off to a flying start and another win will definitely put him in a commanding position towards achieving his goal for this season.


“My goal is to win the Asian Tour Order of Merit, break into the world’s top-100 and secure my PGA Tour card,” said Noh.


Asian Tour

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