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Teenager Noh tops Choi for Malaysian Open victory

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2009 European TourKUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – South Korean teenager Noh Seung-yul birdied the final hole to win the Malaysian Open by one shot over countryman K.J. Choi on Sunday.

The 18-year-old Noh hit a chip shot over the left-hand bunker to within 18 inches of the par-5 18th before tapping in for his second Asian Tour and maiden European Tour title.

Noh shot a 4-under 68 to finish at 14-under 274. Choi had earlier birdied No. 18 for a 69 and the clubhouse lead at 13 under.

“This is more special than my first win,” said Noh, who took the 2008 Midea China Classic title en route to becoming the Asian Tour’s Rookie of the Year.

Noh led by one stroke going into the 634-yard 18th hole but hooked his drive wildly onto the 10th fairway and then saw Choi – who was playing ahead of him – catch up to him with a birdie on the last.

The two looked headed for a playoff as Noh’s second shot stayed well left, eventually coming to rest on a concrete path, but he stayed cool to pull off the unlikely birdie.

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“It was so hot and I wasn’t in the right mind to think,” Noh said. “I just kept it simple and I wanted to get it on the green on 18 and make par. The fact that K.J. made birdie and I was able to come out with a win is very special to me.”

Choi tipped his cap to Noh, whom he described as a star in the making.

“Noh played brilliantly and I have no complaints,” Choi said. “The way that he controls and hits the ball is like no other and I think he has a very bright future. He’s got a very good heart as well.”

Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand, who shared the overnight lead and was looking for his first Asian Tour victory, settled for a share of third place with Soren Hansen and Rhys Davies on 276. Kiradech and Davies shot 71, while Hansen had a 70.

“The win was there for me because I was playing very well,” Kiradech said. “I had many up and downs but I struggled with my putting on the back nine. I seem to always lose it on the last day, I don’t know why.”