Noh toasted at Asian Tour gala

Korea’s teen sensation Noh Seung-yul won two prestigious titles at the Asian Tour Awards Gala on Sunday night.

Korea’s Noh Seung-yul won two prestigious titles when he was officially crowned the youngest Asian Tour Order of Merit champion and named the Players’ Player of the Year at the Asian Tour Awards Gala on Sunday night.

Following the conclusion of the 2010 Asian Tour season at the Black Mountain Masters on Sunday, Noh will enter the record books as the youngest Asian number one at the age of 19 years and 204 days.

He also earned the respect of his peers after a spectacular season which saw him claim victory at the Maybank Malaysian Open in March and four other top-10s. He only missed one cut in Asia all year and also enjoyed solid performances at the Majors finishing 40th in the US Open and 28th in PGA Championship.

“I am honoured to receive the Asian Tour’s Order of Merit trophy and becoming the youngest ever champion in history. It is also special for me to win the Players’ Player of the Year Award as this is nominated by my fellow professionals,” said Noh in a video message as he was unable to attend the evening after undergoing corrective laser eye surgery.

“The Asian Tour has done so much in my career and I am thankful for the opportunities that I have enjoyed since coming through from Qualifying School in 2008. My game has become better over the years through the high level of competition on the Asian Tour and I will continue to represent the Asian Tour proudly,” added the young Korean.

Thai legend Boonchu Ruangkit was honoured with the prestigious Asian Tour’s Special Achievement Award 2010 for his remarkable accomplishments this season.

Known as the “Godfather of Thai golf”, Boonchu won three straight tournaments on the European Seniors Tour early in the year and claimed the Order of Merit crown with a fourth victory in his debut season.

“It’s great that I’ve managed to put Asian golf on the world map and I hope to continue doing so with more good performances in the coming years,” said Boonchu.

Qualifying School graduate Rikard Karlberg of Sweden, who sensationally won twice at the SAIL Open and Hero Honda Indian Open to finish third on the Order of Merit, took home the Rookie of the Year award.

“It has been a good year and for the last couple of months it has been unbelievable. It felt like you took one step forward in your career because you’re playing on a good Tour. This is like the third biggest Tour in the world and it makes you feel good,” said Karlberg.

The magnificent Black Mountain Golf Club, which successfully hosted the just concluded Black Mountain Masters, was voted by the players the Host Venue of the Year.

Australia’s Scott Hend earned bragging rights when he finished atop the Driving Average list with a driving average of 309 yards while Thailand’s Udorn Duangdecha was the straightest driver of the ball throughout the season with a 74% fairway hit rate.

13-time Asian Tour winner, Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand swept aside the Lowest Stroke Average with 68.97% and Thailand’s Thaworn Wiratchant claimed the Birdie Leader award after snaring a total of 261 birdies throughout the 2010 season.

South Africa’s Jbe Kruger hit the most Greens in Regulation (GIR) with a strike rate of 78.3% to top the category while Korea’s Baek Seuk-hyun took the Lowest Putting Average award with 1.729 putts per GIR.

Stylish American David Johnson was voted as the best dressed player on Tour.

Order of Merit winner: Noh Seung-yul (Kor)
Players’ Player of the Year: Noh Seung-yul (Kor)
Rookie of the Year: Rikard Karlberg (Swe)
Special Achivement Award: Boonchu Ruangkit (Tha)
Host Venue of the Year: Black Mountain Golf Club, Thailand
Lowest Stroke Average: Thongchai Jaidee (Tha) – 68.97%
Driving Distance: Scott Hend (Aus) – 309 yards
Driving Accuracy: Udorn Duangdecha (Tha) – 74%
Birdie Leader: Thaworn Wiratchant (Tha) – 261 birdies
Greens in Regulation: Jbe Kruger (Rsa) – 78.3%
Lowest Putting Average: Baek Seuk-hyun (Kor) – 1.729