Rookie leads in PGA Tour playoffs

Aug. 31, 2012 at 8:44 PM
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NORTON, Mass., Aug. 31 (UPI) -- PGA Tour rookie Seung-Yul Noh shot a career low 9-under 62 Friday that put him one shot in front after the opening round of the Deutsche Bank Championship.

Noh earned his tour card by finishing tied for third at last year's qualifying tournament, produced three Top 10 finishes during his first year on the circuit and entered the four-tournament playoff stretch in 40th place.

He dropped to 54th place last week after barely surviving the cut at The Barclays, but a win this week would send him all the way to the top of the points list.

The player on top of that list after the Tour Championship wins the FedEx Cup and the $10 million that goes with it.

Chris Kirk was alone in second after shooting a 63 at the TPC-Boston course. Tiger Woods, Ryan Moore and Jeff Overton were all at 64 while world No. 1 Rory McIlroy and Bryce Molder were at 65.

Woods has had excellent starts to tournaments throughout the year and although he has won three times he has faltered down the stretch in several events. One of those was last week, when he opened with rounds of 68 and 69 before stumbling on the weekend -- eventually dropping him into a tie for 38th place.

"I played really well today," Woods said. "I hit a lot of good shots and on top of that I putted well. It was a nice little combination."

Nick Watney, who won The Barclays to vault to the top of the points list, shot a 1-over 72 that left him in a tie for 74th.

Noh, 21, birdied four straight holes beginning at the par-4 fourth and then birdied four of the last six. This is the first time in his career he has had the lead at the end of a round on the PGA Tour.

The group at 4-under 67 included Ian Poulter, Dustin Johnson and Jason Dufner. Phil Mickelson shot a 68.

Only the top 100 on the points list were eligible to compete this week. That number will be cut to 70 for next week's BMW Championship and only the leading 30 will tee off at the Tour Championship in Atlanta.

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