NEW ORLEANS: South Korea’s Noh Seung-Yul hopes to get his game back on track as he seeks to defend his lone USPGA Tour title at this week’s Zurich Classic of New Orleans.
Noh will have his work cut out for him as he goes against a field on Thursday that includes four of the top-20 players in the world, including world number five Jason Day and number six Dustin Johnson.
Noh posted 65s in the first and third rounds last year. He then hung on to win by two strokes over Andrew Svoboda and Robert Streb with a closing round one-under 71 in windy conditions.
The win was the first on the PGA Tour for Noh who went 54 holes without a bogey until he missed an eight-foot par putt on the first hole of the final round.
In a dozen starts this season, Noh, who turns 24 next month, has struggled.
His best finish was a tie for 11th at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions. Noh has missed five cuts and has just one other top-25 finish, a tie for 22nd at the Northern Trust Open.
Noh is also trying to become the first repeat winner of this event since Carlos Franco in 1999 and 2000. Seven of the last 10 winners have been first-time winners.
Englishman Justin Rose is also in the field after finishing in a tie for second to Jordan Spieth at the 2015 Masters.
“I’m really excited about the rest of the year now,” said Rose. “It’s a good momentum starter for me.
“I tried to really tell myself that this year for me is going to be about April to September, when the big tournaments come around, and that’s when I want to play well.”
This event offers players a chance to qualify for the Players Championship. Anyone in the top-10 on the FedEx Cup points list and inside the top-50 in the world rankings after this tournament will qualify to play at TPC Sawgrass.