Noh takes first PGA Tour title at Zurich Classic

By Associated PressApril 27, 2014, 10:32 pm

AVONDALE, La. – As Seung-Yul Noh exhaled and tilted his head back in a skyward gaze on the 18th green, his South Korean countryman and fellow PGA Tour player, Y.E. Yang, charged toward him, spraying him with bottled beer.

Noh smiled, removed his hat, held both arms out and soaked it all in.

The 22-year-old overcame windy conditions and the pressure that goes with attempting to secure a maiden PGA Tour triumph, shooting a 1-under 71 on Sunday to win the Zurich Classic by two shots.

He also knew he achieved another goal of providing some joy to a nation that has been reeling since a passenger ship capsized April 16, leaving 300 missing or dead.


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''Hopefully, they'll be happy,'' said Noh, who wore black and yellow ribbons on his white golf hat to honor victims of the ferry accident.

While Noh, the leader through three rounds, never fell out of first, he did make his first three bogeys of the tournament and briefly fell into a tie with Keegan Bradley, the 2011 PGA Championship winner who had the gallery behind him.

But Bradley did himself in with a bogey on the fifth hole and a triple bogey on the sixth.

''I actually played pretty well,'' Bradley said. ''Just made one bad swing on 6 and had a bunch of lip-outs.''

Noh remained steady enough- even with wind gusting up to 30 mph - to hold off the remaining challengers.

''Very challenging today out there, especially playing with Keegan, a major champion, and heavy wind,'' Noh said.

Noh needed a few clutch shots on the back nine, including a chip out of a grassy downhill lie on the edge of a bunker on 13, which hit the flag on a bounce, setting up a routine birdie putt. On 16, with wind in his face, Noh landed his approach 3 feet from the hole to set up his last birdie, then made a 14-foot par putt on 17 to assure a two-shot cushion on the final hole, uncharacteristically pumping his first afterward.

''Yeah, that was a clutch putt,'' Noh said, explaining that it left him ''very comfortable'' on 18.

Noh had made 77 previous PGA Tour starts, never finishing better than tied for fourth at the 2012 AT&T National.

He took the third-round lead in New Orleans while becoming the first to play 54 holes at TPC Louisiana without a bogey. The seventh first-time PGA Tour winner in the last 10 years in the New Orleans event, Noh finished at 19-under 269 and earned $1,224,000. He was playing for the first time with caddie Scott Sajtinac, who seemed awe struck by Noh's combination of talent, wisdom and sense of calm for a player so young.

''He's going to be good,'' Sajtinac said. ''He was unflappable. You need to be unflappable to win on the PGA Tour.''

Andrew Svoboda and Robert Streb tied for second. Svoboda had a 69. Streb shot 70, including an eagle on the second hole, and was one shot off the lead after a birdie on 8, but his tee shot was pushed into water by a crosswind on the par-3 ninth hole, and he made double-bogey.

Jeff Overton, who briefly pulled within a stroke of Noh on the back nine, had a 70 to finish fourth at 16 under.

Bradley wound up with a 75 to tie for eighth at 13 under.

On Saturday, Bradley worked his way into the final group, two strokes behind Noh, with a 65.

Bradley was within a stroke after the first hole Sunday, which saw Noh hit his drive into mulch right of the fairway en route to his first bogey. Bradley then birdied the par-5 second hole to tie Noh.

But just a few holes later, Bradley missed a par putt from less than 2 feet, and followed that up by hitting his drive into the water on No. 6. Then, he three-putted to complete a pivotal two-hole stretch in which he dropped four strokes.

While Bradley never recovered from his front-nine falter, Noh still had to ward off a challenge from Overton, who was one stroke back after his 20-foot birdie putt on 10.

Overton, however, bogeyed 11 when he hit his drive into a bunker left of the fairway and his second shot over the fairway and right of the cart path.

Noh, meanwhile, has the victory he needed to get into The Players Championship next month, and his first Masters next spring.

''Dreams come true,'' Noh said. ''When I started at 7 playing golf, I dreamed of always playing (on the) PGA Tour ... or playing any major, especially the Masters.''

Divots: Robert Garrigus, who narrowly made the cut Friday, had the best score Sunday with a 64. The round included a 374-yard drive with a tail wind on 18, which he birdied to tie for fifth at 14 under, along with two-time heart transplant recipient Erik Compton. Garrigus, who would have earned nothing had he been one stroke worse during the first two rounds, took home $248,200. ... Ben Martin, who shot a course-record 62 in the first round and was 14 under through 22 holes, was 3 over on the last 50 holes. He tied for 15th with David Toms.

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After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 2:19 am

Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

On the current state of golf as Tiger Woods returns to competition ...

Less than four days before Tiger Woods returns to official competitive golf for the first time in a year, Jon Rahm, the new second-ranked player in the world, won on the PGA Tour and Rory McIlroy made an impressive 2018 debut on the European Tour (T-3).

Not since Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus crossed paths at the 1960 U.S. Open has there been so many superstars all poised for big seasons, with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson having already won this year and Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas both coming off stellar seasons.

It’s a good time for golf. - Rex Hoggard


On Tommy Fleetwood's continued success ...

There have been scores of talented European players whose skills didn’t translate to the PGA Tour … and maybe, in a few years, Tommy Fleetwood will prove to be no different.

He sure looks like the real deal, though.  

His title defense in Abu Dhabi – on the strength of a back-nine 30 in windy conditions – was his third title in the past 12 months and 11th top-10 overall. A few of those have come in majors and World Golf Championship events, too, which led the reigning Race to Dubai champion to accept PGA Tour membership for this season.

Beginning at Riviera, he plans to play exclusively in the States through May, then reassess for the rest of the year. Hope he sticks, because he’s a fun personality with tons of game. - Ryan Lavner

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Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2

By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:25 am

With his win Sunday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, Jon Rahm picked up his second PGA Tour victory and moved to No. 2 in the FedExCup points standings.

He picked up one more No. 2, too.

The 23-year-old Spaniard passed Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, behind only Dustin Johnson.

In 19 months, since June 2016, Rahm has rocketed from No. 776 in the world to No. 2, thanks in part to his low divisor, his number of events played.

Asked after his playoff victory over Andrew Landry to discuss his rapid ascent up the world rankings, Rahm was almost at a loss.

“It's hard to believe to be honest, passing Jordan Spieth,” he said. “That's a three-time major champion. I only have two wins. He's got 10-plus, right? It's again – I've said it many times – I never thought I was going to be at this point in my life right now.”

Rahm may only have two PGA Tour titles, but this is his fourth worldwide win in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. He also took the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the DP World Tour Championship on his way to claiming the European Tour’s 2017 Rookie of the Year Award.

Dating back to the start of last season on the PGA Tour, Rahm has racked up 12 top-10s, three runner-ups, and two wins.

He will head to Torrey Pines next week ready to defend for the first time.

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Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 1:05 am

Tom Brady and Tiger Woods are two of the all-time greats in their respective sports ... a fact that is not lost on the five-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.

Fresh off leading the New England Patriots to a AFC Championship victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady was asked about winning the game despite a cut on his throwing hand - which made national news heading into the matchup.

His response invoked the name of a certain 14-time major winner, something that would be tough to pull off, if not for the fact that he is, you know, Tom Brady.

“I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that," the 40-year-old told reporters after the game. "It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament."

Tiger Woods winning with his "C game" may be a distant memory for golf fans, but no matter what game he brings, his next chance to win comes next week at Torrey Pines during his official comeback to the PGA Tour.

Brady has a shot at his sixth Super Bowl title in two weeks. The Patriots would probably benefit from him bringing a little better than his "C game" as well.

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Rahm beats Landry in playoff to win CareerBuilder

By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:00 am

Jon Rahm birdied the fourth extra hole Sunday to defeat Andrew Landry in a playoff, win the CareerBuilder Challenge and move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Here’s how things played out in overtime at PGA West:

Leaderboard: Rahm (-22), Landry (-22), John Huh (-20), Adam Hadwin (-20), Martin Piller (-20), Kevin Chappell (-19), Scott Piercy (-19)

What it means: This is Rahm’s second PGA Tour win and his fourth worldwide victory in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. Rahm took the early lead Thursday with an opening 62 and after rounds of 67-70, he started the final round two back. On Sunday, he made five birdies without dropping a single shot on the intimidating Stadium Course. In the clubhouse at 22 under, Rahm watched as Landry made birdie on 18 to force a playoff.

Rahm missed birdie putts that would have ended the tournament on the final hole of regulation and on each playoff hole. Finally, on his fourth trip down 18 of the day, his birdie bid found the cup. With the victory, Rahm passes Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, trailing only Dustin Johnson. He enters next week at Torrey Pines looking to defend for the first time.

Best of the rest: A two-time Web.com winner playing his second full season on the PGA Tour, Landry shot 68 Sunday, making birdie on the 72nd hole to force extras. Once Rahm finally made birdie on the fourth playoff hole, Landry's putt to extend slid by on the right edge. This is Landry's best career finish on the PGA Tour. Had he won, he would have secured full Tour status through the 2019-20 season and earned invites to the Masters, Players, and PGA Championships.

Round of the day: Sam Saunders fired an 8-under 64 to register this best finish of the season, a tie for eighth at 18 under. The reigning Web.com Tour Championship winner was 9 under par through 12 holes before making bogey at 13 and parring his way into the clubhouse.

Biggest disappointment: Overnight leader Austin Cook was eyeing his second win of the season but never contended. The RSM champion carded two double bogeys Sunday en route to a 3-over 75, dropping him from the 54-hole lead to a tie for 14th.

Shot of the day: Rahm's putt to win:

Quote of the day: "One of us had to do it and either one of us would have been a well-deserving champion." - Rahm on his playoff victory over Landry