Kuala Lumpur, February 14: Asian Tour number one Noh Seung-yul has qualified for his first WGC-Acenture Match Play after the cut-off for the top-64 qualifiers was made with the Official World Golf Ranking on Monday.
The Korean teenage star, the youngest ever to win the Asian Tour’s Order of Merit title last season, maintained his 63rd position on the list despite missing the halfway cut at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic by one shot last week.
The 19-year-old will join countrymen and Asian Tour honorary members K.J. Choi (49th) and Y.E. Yang (44th), along with the 27th-ranked Kim Kyung-tae in the US$8.5 million showpiece at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club in Arizona from February 21-27.
Japanese veteran Hiroyuki Fujita, the only player to win three times on the Asian Tour last season, has also qualified for the first World Golf Championships tournament by virtue of his 50th place ranking.
“This is fantastic news for Noh and the Asian Tour,” said Kyi Hla Han, Executive Chairman, Asian Tour. “After the season that he had with us, we are confident he will fly the Asian flag proudly at the Accenture Match Play.”
Noh’s inclusion in the Match Play will enhance his hopes of qualifying for the Masters Tournament, the year’s opening Major in April. He will need to break into the world’s top-50 in the week prior to the Masters.
As the Asian number one, he has been exempted into the US$8.5 million WGC-Cadillac Championship next month, which would give him another opportunity to move up the rankings before the Masters, and the British Open in July.
There was no such joy for three-time Asian Tour number one Thongchai Jaidee. The Thai ace missed the halfway cut in Dubai and dropped one rung to 68th position on the world list.
Last year, the former paratrooper produced a superb run in the Match Play when he scalped several seeded players to qualify for the quarter-finals before losing to eventual winner Ian Poulter of England.
Photo - Asian Tour
Asian Tour GolfGreedy.com