KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 12 (Reuters) - Seventeen-year-old South Korean Noh Seung-yul crammed an eagle and nine birdies in a spectacular 10-under-par 62 to take the first-round lead at the Malaysian Open on Thursday.
While last season’s Asian Tour rookie of the year was setting a scorching pace at Saujana Golf and Country Club, world number 11 Anthony Kim slumped to a six-over 78 on a course that is often referred to as the ‘Cobra’.
The American failed to pick up a birdie all day at the event sanctioned by the Asian and European tours.
Noh held a one-stroke lead over Swede Alexander Noren while China’s Liang Wenchong shared third place on 65 with Frenchman Jean-Francois Lucquin.
The Korean teenager made a brilliant start by sinking a 45-foot birdie putt at the 10th, his first hole, before reeling off four more birdies in an outward 31.
Noh then roared home in 31, with an eagle, four birdies and a solitary dropped stroke at the par-three fifth.
“I didn’t make any mistakes today and I putted really well,” he told reporters. “I’m happy but you don’t win a tournament on the first day.”
Noh’s 62 bettered the previous course best by two shots but will not stand as the record because preferred lies were used.
He won last year’s China Classic and was runner-up three times as he finished 10th on Asia’s order of merit.
Noren, partnering Noh, praised the youngster’s display.
“He was just unbelievable,” said the Swede. “I seemed to be one ahead of him all day but then he birdied four, eagled seven and birdied eight to get one ahead of me.”
Malaysia’s Danny Chia shared fifth place on 66 with Briton Nick Dougherty and Australian Adam Blyth.
Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee, chasing a third Malaysian Open crown, returned a 69.
Writing by Sanjay Rajan; Editing by Tony Jimenez
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