Byron Nelson R1: Noh shoots 60 with CRACKED driver; Scheffler bang in contention

Seung-yul Noh overcomes a cracked driver midway through his round to open with a 60. 

Andy Roberts's picture
Thu, 11 May 2023
Byron Nelson R1: Noh shoots 60 with CRACKED driver; Scheffler bang in contention

Seung-yul Noh overcame an equipment malfunction in the first round of the AT&T Byron Nelson to tie the course record (11-under 60) at TPC Craig Ranch on a day where Scottie Scheffler putted poorly but rallied late to shoot a 64.

Noh, 31, went out in 30 shots thanks to four birdies and an eagle at the 9th before adding another birdie at the 11th. Then things derailed slightly as Noh examed his driver head on the 12th and noticed a crack. 

"I'm trying to hit a draw and it was a pretty solid hit but it went 70 yards right," Noh said after his blistering round of 60. 

The South Korean, who won his sole PGA Tour title in 2014, was not allowed to replace his driver at the time because under Model Local Rule G-9, a golf club is 'not replaceable solely because of a crack'. 

According to PGA Tour chief referee John Mutch, "there needed to be some more subsequent damage other than just a hairline crack."

Noh then hit his driver well left on the 13th and his provisional ball went even further left than that. He then discussed the situation with Mutch, who determined 'significant damage' had been done to his driver and he was therefore allowed to replace his driver.

Mutch told the PGA Tour: "There was definitely separation in the metal on the face, and there was clear concavity in the face. Concavity renders a club face non-conforming. So the club at that point was unfit for play."

Thankfully for Noh it didn't cost him any strokes as he played holes 12 and 13 in level par. 

Noh did not receive his replacement driver head until the 16th where he was able to screw it onto his driver shaft, but to his credit he birdied the 14th and 15th to progress to 9-under for the round. 

He then went on to birdie the 17th and 18th to tie the course record of 60 at TPC Craig Ranch. 

Elsewhere, Adam Scott continued his solid recent form with an 8-under 63 to lie in a tie for second alongside China's Zecheng Dou.

World No.2 Scottie Scheffler and a resurgent Jason Day both rallied late in the day to shoot rounds of 7-under 64.

Scheffler had moved to 6-under thru six holes, highlighted with a chip-in eagle at the 6th, but he soon fell back into the pack with three bogeys in the space of seven holes as a result of missing very short putts. 

He also missed a tiddler for birdie from about three feet on the par-5 9th. 

But the American, who is playing in his home state of Texas this week, composed himself well coming home to pour in birdies from four feet on 14 and 15 feet on 15 followed by a beautiful 20-footer for eagle on 18. 

Scheffler ranked 67th in SG-Putting (0.438) in the first round. 

If he can improve on that heading into the weekend then it could be ominous for the rest of the field. 

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