Seamus Power began his PGA Championship preparations with an opening round of 69 at the AT&T Byron Nelson as blast from the past Seung-yul Noh stole the show with a magical 60.
Power trails Noh by nine shots after a day of low scoring at TPC Craig Ranch and he will have to keep the foot on the gas just to make the cut.
Noh is on eleven-under and leads by three shots from the in form Adam Scott and China’s Zecheng You while Scottie Scheffler is part of a group of players on seven-under.
It was a career best round on the PGA Tour for the South Korean who hasn’t hit the heights since returning from military duties in 2019 after two years away.
Noh has shown signs of life this season however, making nine of twelve cuts including two top-25 finishes.
It was a sensational round that included nine birdies and an eagle at the par-5 9th. What was even more impressive was that he continued the birdie barrage even after cracking his driver on the par-4 12th.
“I’m trying to hit a draw and it was a pretty solid hit but it went 70 yards right. I was like, where did this come from?” Noh said.
Noh was not allowed to replace the club at the time. Under Model Local Rule G-9, a club is not replaceable solely because of a crack.
“There needed to be some more subsequent damage other than just a hairline crack,” Chief Referee John Mutch said.
That came on the par-4 13th, when Noh hit the driver well left on the par-4 13th, and his provisional went even further left. From there, he conferred with Mutch, who determined “significant damage” occurred, allowing Noh to take the driver out of play.
“There was definitely separation in the metal on the face, and there was clear concavity in the face. Concavity renders a club face non-conforming. So the club at that point was unfit for play,” Mutch said.
A replacement driver was given to Noh on 16 and he closed with back to back birdies.
“After making 16 long par putt, I talked to James Hahn, I said, ‘what’s going on, what happened today.’ He said, ‘just don’t think about it, just go play.
“It’s just the first day, I have to manage the score so I just laid up and tried to make birdie,” Noh said.
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