Seung-yul Noh has qualified for the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship for the first time in his career. He’ll need a first-round upset to prolong his stay.
Noh, 19, will face the second-ranked player in the world, Martin Kaymer of Germany, when the first World Golf Championships event of the season gets under way Feb. 23 at Ritz-Carlton Golf Club in Marana, Ariz.
“This is fantastic news for Noh and the Asian Tour,” said Kyi Hla Han, executive chairman of the 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.”
In 2010, Noh became the youngest winner of the Asian Tour’s Order of Merit and, at No. 63 in the Official World Golf Ranking, was one of the final players to qualify for the $8.5 million Match Play. His inclusion bolsters his hopes of playing in the Masters, which requires a top-50 ranking in the week prior to the event. (As the No. 1 on the Asian Tour’s Order of Merit, Noh already has received an exemption into next month’s WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral.)
Noh has experienced mixed results in five career starts on the PGA Tour, with two cuts made and $81,422 earned. He tied for 16th in his only other WGC start, the HSBC Champions in Shanghai.
Also in the Match Play field are Asian Tour honorary members Y.E. Yang (44th in the world) and K.J. Choi (49th), No. 27 Kim Kyung-tae and No. 50 Hiroyuki Fujita, the only player to win three times on the 2010 Asian Tour. Thongchai Jaidee, a three-time winner of the Asian Tour Order of Merit, had a chance to move into the Match Play field but missed the cut at the European Tour’s Dubai Desert Classic. Last year in Arizona, Jaidee lost to eventual champion Ian Poulter in the quarterfinals.