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PGA Tour player comes within inches of a 59 after swapping drivers mid-round

Seung-Yul Noh had an eventful first round of the AT&T Byron Nelson in which he cracked his driver - but almost joined one of the PGA Tour's most exclusive clubs in the process
 

If you’re stood on the 18th tee box on the PGA Tour needing an eagle to shoot 59, you obviously go for it, right?

Seung-Yul Noh was on the brink of becoming the 12th player in tour history to break 60 – and this looked even more likely when he smacked a drive 280 yards down the last fairway in the first round of the AT&T Byron Nelson.

He had 257 yards to the green on this par 5, but instead of going for the green surrounded by water and bunkers, he hit a 175-yard lay-up.

Noh got up and down from 88 yards to make yet another birdie, so who could begrudge him that? His score of 60 at TPC Craig Ranch was enough for a modest three-shot lead.

“Not too much wind – So my 3-wood (was) going off the ground like 265 yards, but it’s just under 260 without the wind. It’s like borderline,” the South Korean said after his round.

“Today – everything (was) going good. Even (my) wedge game and putting, everything (was) going good. I’m just trying to make birdie, just forget about the eagle 59.”

Noh’s 60 equaled the low round of the season on the PGA Tour, matching Patrick Cantlay’s card from the third round of the Shriners Children’s Open.

But this didn’t come without inconvenience or difficulty.

After hitting his tee shot on the par-4 12th hole in Texas well right, he looked down and saw his driver was cracked – he persevered with it on hole 13 too, but it developed into a more serious problem.

As the club wasn’t damaged with any intent, Noh was allowed to replace his driver on hole 15 with one that wasn’t cracked. He managed to make four birdies in his last five holes.

“When I hit it on 12, I’m swinging so nicely – but keep going like 70 yards right. So I just look at the driver and it had a crack in it,” the 31-year-old added.

Noh is in a prime position to challenge for his second PGA Tour title. His first came at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans in 2014 when it was an individual event.

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Matt Chivers

Matt Chivers

Now on the wrong side of 25, Matt has been playing golf since the age of 13 and was largely inspired to take up the game by countless family members who played golf during his childhood.

Matt is a member at Royal Cinque Ports in Deal playing off a 5 handicap, just a pitching wedge away from his hometown of Dover where he went to school and grew up. He has previously been a member at Etchinghill and Walmer and Kingsdown in Kent.

Having studied history at the University of Liverpool, Matt went on to pass his NCTJ Exams in Manchester a year later to fulfil his lifelong ambition of becoming a journalist. He picked up work experience along the way at places such as the Racing Post, the Independent, Sportsbeat and the Lancashire Evening Post.

Matt joined NCG in February 2023 and is the website’s main source of tour news, features and opinion. He has reported live from events such as The Open, the Ryder Cup and The Players Championship, having also interviewed and spoken to the likes of Rory McIlroy, Tommy Fleetwood, Lee Westwood, Graeme McDowell, Henrik Stenson, to name just a few.

Consuming tour golf on what is a 24/7 basis, you can come to Matt for informed views on the game and the latest updates on the PGA Tour, DP World Tour, LPGA Tour, Ladies European Tour and LIV Golf.

What’s in Matt’s bag: Cobra LTDx LS driver, Cobra LTDx 3-wood, TaylorMade P7MC irons, Ping Glide 4.0 wedges, Odyssey putter.

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