To preview the 2013 PGA TOUR season, PGATOUR.COM is counting down the Top 100 Players to Watch in 2013. For an archive page with the top 100 players and for an explanation on how the list was compiled, click here .
2013 PREVIEW: After a year to get acclimated to the United States courses and culture that nonetheless produced three top-10s, Seung-Yul Noh can really concentrate on his game this year. The 22-year-old has already won in China and on the European Tour.
2012 DEFINING MOMENT: Noh proved extremely consistent as a rookie, missing just four cuts in 24 starts to finish 37th in the FedExCup. His best performance came at the AT&T National where Noh broke par in the first three rounds to enter the final round one stroke off the pace before eventually tying for fourth. – Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
ALBERS’ QUICK TAKE: Noh weighs just 165 pounds and yet he averages more than 300 yards per drive. He creates great clubhead speed with a wide arc and wonderful hand action. Sometimes long hitters are inconsistent, but Noh made 17 straight cuts on TOUR. He is a star in the making. -- Fred Albers, SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio
BOLTON’S FANTASY OUTLOOK: ... Other wunderkinds are getting more attention, but he's earned every bit of his. The 21-year-old South Korean is already one of my favorite fantasy owns thanks to a 24-for-28 rookie campaign that featured three top 10s, another 10 top 25s and a season-ending streak of 17 consecutive cuts made. Already in possession of a sharp skill set for the modern game, he lacks only in experience, not that he led on in 2012. Worth every penny of $1.629 million. -- Rob Bolton, PGATOUR.COM Fantasy expert
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2012 QUICK REVIEW
Regular Season ranking
Final Playoffs ranking
|By the Numbers
Cuts made: 24
Rounds played: 101
Top-10 finishes: 3
Money List rank: 49th
Driving distance: 19th
Driving accuracy: 127th
Greens in regulation: 33rd
Strokes gained-putting: 62nd
Scoring average: 31st
NOW IT’S YOUR TURN
What is you prediction for Seung-Yul Noh in 2013? Fill out the form below and let us know.
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
A year ago, Justin Rose chipped in for birdie on the penultimate hole of the BMW Championship and held off John Senden by two shots to win the BMW Championship. The victory moved Rose from 34th to third in the FedExCup standings and punched his ticket to the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola.
Those outside the top 30 in the standings entering this week are hoping for a similar fate. Six players moved outside the bubble to inside it in the first week of the FedExCup Playoffs, and nine turned the trick last week.
Who, if anyone, will move from outside the top 30 and advance to East Lake in two weeks? Here’s a closer look at five players who I think could bust this week’s bubble. Fill out the form below and let us know which players from outside the top 30 you think will advance.
Bud Cauley (No. 33): For the second straight year, Cauley is playing his best golf when the pressure has been on. Last season, Cauley finished third at the Frys.com Open and 15th at the McGladrey Classic to lock up a card and avoid q-school. This year, Cauley has three finishes in the top 4 in his last six starts. One of those was a tie for 10th at The Barclays. Only four rookies have reached the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola since the inception of the FedExCup in 2007, but if Cauley can putt the way he did at Bethpage, I think he’ll advance. Click here for FedExCup Tracker
Seung-Yul Noh (No. 38): In Noh’s last 10 events, he’s finished outside the top 30 just twice (and one of those was a 31st-place finish). He tied for 13th last week in Boston, 21st at the PGA Championship and a season-best fourth at the AT&T National in July. Noh is also long off the tee, averaging just over 300 yards, and ranks in the top 25 in greens in regulation. He’s also pretty good with the flat stick (60th in strokes gained-putting). I think Noh not only advances, I think he flirts with the top of the leaderboard at Crooked Stick.
William McGirt (No. 39): By his own admission, McGirt has been watching the FedExCup standings since the week after the U.S. Open. He responded, too, finishing 13th at the Travelers Championship before adding a fifth-place finish in Mississippi and a runner-up in Canada. In his first two Playoffs events, McGirt finished 10th and 26th, respectively. The latter moved him up seven spots, so he’ll probably need something slightly better to make it to East Lake. But if McGirt can roll it the way he has each of the last two weeks, he’ll have a good chance.
Jeff Overton (No. 40): The Indiana native could either collapse under the pressure of trying to perform in front of a hometown audience, or thrive in it. I’m going with the latter, especially with Crooked Stick being a big ballpark and Overton being a big hitter. He seemed to have found something last week in Boston, where he tied for seventh.
Vijay Singh (No. 49): Given his position, Singh is going to need a very good week to climb into the top 30. But the 49-year-old has also done a nice job of managing his schedule with a couple of weeks off in what’s been a very busy stretch of golf. Singh contended at the PGA Championship before fading on the weekend, and he’s done the same for the most part in each of his last two starts -- which is certainly a concern. But the big Fijian played his way to East Lake last year with a tie for third at The Barclays after failing to reach the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola each of the previous two years, and I could see him doing it again this week at Crooked Stick.
In the second round of the Deutsche Bank Championship, Ryan Moore hits his 232-yard second shot on the par-5 18th hole to 5 feet then sinks his putt for eagle.
NORTON, Mass. – Ryan Moore and Seung-Yul Noh played together for the first 36 holes of the Deutsche Bank Championship. It was a successful group for both players.
Moore posted a 3-under 68 in Saturday’s second round that leaves him at 10 under, just two shots off the lead currently held by Rory McIlroy. Noh followed his sizzling 62 in Friday’s first round with an even-par 71 on Saturday, keeping him at 9 under.
The players came into this week next to each other in the FedExCup points standings – Moore at 53, Noh at 54. Both will safely move on to next week’s BMW Championship when the FedExCup Playoffs field is reduced to the top 70.
“It’s always nice playing with somebody that’s playing really well,” Moore said. “It makes the cup seem that much bigger when you’ve got somebody else in the group pouring in putts. That was the case yesterday.
“I think we both didn’t play quite as well as we did yesterday, but he’s a great player and I’ve enjoyed playing with him.”
After posting nine birdies without a bogey in the first round, Noh was not as spectacular on Saturday, although he did hole out from 67 feet for eagle at the short par-4 fourth hole.
But he gave those strokes away with a double bogey at the par-3 eighth when he found the bunker left of the green with his tee shot, then blasted out across the green to the rough on the other side. He also had one birdie and one bogey on his round.
Noh said his tee shots were “not too bad” but that his iron play was not good. He also said that when the wind changed direction mid-round, he had a difficult time making adjustments. “Not much chance for a birdie today,” he said.
Given that 62 on Friday, though, the 21-year-old Korean is in great shape heading into the final two rounds.
“Yesterday like perfect round,” he said. “That’s golf. One day is perfect, one day is bad, one day is good. I think not too bad today.”
Moore felt the same way.
He opened with a bogey but reeled off three straight birdies starting with the 12th hole. After a bogey at 15, he bounced back with a birdie at the 16th, then eagled with par-5 18th when his second shot landed five feet from the pin.
Moore said his putter cooled off on his final nine holes Saturday – the difference between his 68 and the opening 64 he shot on Friday.
“I hit good putts and just burned the edges,” he said. “That’s how it goes sometimes. I’m happy with how I’m putting and how I’m rolling it. Just going to go work on the alignment a little bit and get it squared away.”
The final group is off; now can anyone catch Ben Curtis ? Here’s a look at the contenders.
Every, a 2006 University of Florida graduate, is having the best year of his young career since becoming a member of the PGA TOUR in 2010 with three top-10 finishes in 10 starts this season. One of those came just last week with a tie for eighth at the RBC Heritage.
This also marks the 40th start of Every’s career, and he’s in search of his first win. His best finish so far was a tie for third earlier this year in Mexico.
He’ll need to play better than he has the last two days, however, when he failed to break par in the second or third rounds. Overall, though, he’s driving it well -- T9 in fairways hit -- and hitting a lot of greens -- T3 in greens in regulation. He is, however, just 46th in strokes gained-putting.
Five strokes will be awfully hard to make up on a golf course that has played two strokes over par through the first three rounds, unless Curtis starts going backwards.
But Wi has played well in this tournament in the past, tying for second in 2008 after a career-low tying 61 in the final round.
He probably won’t need to go quite that low here in the final round, but something in the mid-60s would go a long way.
In search of his second win, 21-year-old rookie Huh is coming off his best round of the week, a 5-under 67.
Earlier this year, Huh defeated Robert Allenby in sudden death at the Mayakoba Golf Classic to become 2012’s first rookie winner. Should he win this week, he would become fifth rookie to win multiple times in a season, dating to 1990. Most recently, Keegan Bradley achieved the feat last year, having won the HP Byron Nelson Championship and PGA Championship.
Rookie Seung-yul Noh made seven birdies on his way to a 4-under 68 in the third round, but like Wi and Huh, has five shots to make up.
Noh has won twice, overseas, however. On TOUR, his best finish of the year was a tie for 16th in Mexico.
One thing he’s had going for him this week: Putting. He’s fifth in the field in putts per green in regulation.
LA QUINTA, Calif. -- The good news for Seung-yul Noh is that he’s still high up on the leaderboard despite a bogey-quadruple bogey finish Saturday at q-school, where he shot an even-par 72 in a windswept day on the Nicklaus Tournament Course.
At 11 under through the first four rounds, the 20-year-old from South Korea seems to be well on his way to securing a PGA TOUR card for next season.
He also made quite and impression on Tag Ridings, who played with Noh the last two days.
“I had no idea he was 20 years old,” Ridings said. “That’s impressive.
“He’s a very good player. He swings it great, he putts it great. He’s one of the best players in this field.”
Ranked 101st in the world, Noh isn’t exactly a stranger to success. In 2010, he won the Malaysian Open, which made him the second-youngest winner in European Tour history behind Danny Lee. Noh finished 34th on the Order of Merit that year and led the Asian Tour money list as well.
Noh isn’t the only one playing well on another windy day, however. Veteran Marco Dawson shot 67 for a second straight day and is 13 under.
That is easily the lowest score among those near the top of the leaderboard on a difficult day of scoring.
“Brutal,” Ridings said, describing the conditions. “This is a horrible place to play in these conditions. The wind is more gusting than swirling.”
Other notables inside the magic number of the top 25 on the leaderboard at the moment include 2000 PGA runner-up Bob May, who is 7 under through four rounds.
Harris English, who won on the Nationwide Tour while still in college at Georgia earlier this year, is also near the top of the leaderboard, while William McGirt, Bob Estes and Jeff Maggert are also all in the top 25.
Everyone knows the short game is key at Augusta National. And according to the folks at Titleist, this is the time players start seeking out Bob Vokey and his staff of wedge technicians so they'll be ready.
The pros will generally get a new set and practice with them for several weeks so the transition from their worn wedges with be seamless. They want to make sure they are comfortable with the new wedges before putting them in play.
Rick Nelson, Titleist's director of wedge development, was on site at TPC Blue Monster for the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship. Here are some of the players he worked with there.
* S.S.P. Chowrasia had a new wide sole 60-6 "TK" wedge made up for this week.
* Peter Hanson got new 54- and 60-degree wedges in preparation for Augusta.
* Y.E. Yang has two new backup lob wedges to start breaking in. as well.
* Adam Scott, Charley Hoffman, Robert Karlsson, Seung Yul Noh and Nick Watney – who won the Cadillac Championship, also ordered fresh grooves.
MARANA, Ariz. -- Rory McIlroy couldn't help but chuckle.
When he got to the range on Wednesday morning, he was hitting balls with 17-year-old Matteo Manassero, 19-year-old Ryo Ishikawa and a man old enough to be their father, Steve Stricker.
"Stricker was pushing the average age up by a bit there, so it was funny," the 21-year-old McIlroy said with a smile.
Only two of the four -- McIlroy and Manassero -- will be back there on Thursday morning preparing for the second round of the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship, though. McIlroy beat Jonathan Byrd 4 and 2 while the Italian teen disposed of Stricker 2 and 1.
Not a birthday to remember for Stricker, who turned 44 on Wednesday.
"I was looking forward to this match and I was trying to do my best," Manassero said. "I actually have played well. I played really well. I achieved a victory against one of the best players in the world and ... past champion of this event. So it's just a big highlight for me."
Manassero, who became the youngest winner ever on the European Tour last year, said he wasn't expecting a lot this week. He played lost of match play as an amateur but not "against such big players. So this is already very good for me, and we'll see what happens next round."
Next up for Manassero is Charl Schwartzel, who beat Ishikawa in 20 holes. The other teenager in the field, Seung-yul Noh, the 19-year-old Korean, drew world No. 2 Martin Kaymer and lost 7 and 6.
It was hard to tell if McIlroy was happier for himself or Manassero, whom he had played a practice round with on Monday. McIlroy can relate to what the young Italian is experiencing this week -- he made his debut at Dove Mountain as a 19-year-old on the heels of his first European Tour victory.
"It's awesome; it's fantastic," said McIlroy, who faces Ben Crane in the second round. "I'm happy for him. ... He's so mature for 17. ,,, It's all these little things -- he's still learning and they're put into the memory bank and it can only serve him well in the future and that's why all the experience that I've had, good and bad, they should serve you well in the future. And to get all these experiences so young.
"By the time Matteo and myself, 24, 25, you know, we'll have tons of experience that we can use and hopefully use it to our advantage."
McIlroy, who is ranked No. 7 in the world, feels he's a "much more rounded" golfer than he was when he tied for fifth at Dove Mountain three years ago. He also has seen the landscape of the game altered thanks to the volatility of the world rankings after Lee Westwood overtook Tiger Woods as world No. 1.
"I definitely think there's an opportunity for the younger guys to come and show what they've got on Tour," McIlroy said. " ... You come on, and as I said before, you feel like you've nothing to lose. You just go out there and you're playing your game.
"I mean, regardless of Tiger or Phil or Steve Stricker or Jim Furyk are coming towards the end of their careers, I think the young guys are not good enough to compete with them. ... I mean, I don't think Tiger and Phil have got any, well, yeah, I mean I don't think Phil hasn't got any worries. I mean, Tiger isn't as dominant as he used to be, and Phil, I mean Phil won The Masters last year.
"They're great players and they're going to continue to be great players until their mid 40s. … I think it's a good opportunity for guys, the younger generation to come through and show what they have." -- Helen Ross