London: Asian Tour number one Noh Seung-yul of South Korea is confident his remodelled golf swing under the guidance of renowned coach Butch Harmon will drive him to glory at the British Open next week.
The prodigious Korean, who made history by becoming the youngest winner of the Asian Tour Order of Merit title last season, has been working hard on improving his game since the start of the year.
After some initial struggles, Noh is beginning reap the rewards of his new game where he finished tied 30th at the US Open last month.
"I’ve been adapting to my new swing and saw some results at the U.S. Open. My goal is to play better than what I did and I hope the results will come through at the British Open," said Noh, who earned his place in the world’s oldest major through his Merit success.The 20-year-old Noh will head to Royal St George’s in southeast England buoyed with confidence. He is also fully aware that his short game will need to be in tip-top shape if he is to make an impact at The Open.
"Putting is the most important thing when playing on a links-style course. I’ll have to pay special attention to my putting especially if my shots are around 30 to 40 yards from the pin. Good chipping is also really important," said Noh.
Noh, who has been tipped by major winners Greg Norman and Padraig Harrington for greatness, broke onto the Asian Tour scene as a 16-year-old in 2008. After earning his card from Qualifying School, he produced three runner-up finishes and a victory to win the Rookie of the Year title.
He won his second Asian Tour title at the Maybank Malaysian Open, co-sanctioned with the European Tour, last year en route to lifting the Merit crown.
While the Korean has not won this season, he knows he has to remain patient before he returns to the winner’s circle again."I have to always stay patient. It was tough initially for me when I made changes to my game. I’m still adapting but I trust that it’ll get better with continued practicing," said Noh.
This will be his second appearance at The Open. He qualified for St Andrews last year but missed the halfway cut. He opened with a 72 but struggled with a 76 in howling winds in the second round.
Noh will lead the Asian Tour charge in the year’s third major next week. Other Asian Tour members in the field include Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee, Prom Meesawat and Prayad Marksaeng, Singapore’s Lam Chih Bing and Japanese veteran Tetsuji Hiratsuka.
First Published: Saturday, July 09, 2011, 22:13