Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Teenage Stars

Sam comes down for breakfast excited.

“Dad, you remember that Korean kid who impressed so much at the U.S. Junior when you were writing the book?”

“Yes, why.”

He just won a European tour event and received an invitation to play in the British Open. Indeed, South Korean Noh Seung-yul, pictured above, became the second-youngest winner in the history of golf's European Tour after edging out KJ Choi by one shot in the Maybank Malaysian Open.

Forget financial crisis. Forget Tiger Woods’s sex scandal. Teenagers still are shooting for the greens and achieving surprising success.

Noh, now 18 years old was the kabuki faced teenager who swept the stroke play at the U.S. Junior in my book, and who looked set to sweep the entire tournament before inexplicably doffing a chip and allowing a 14-year old from Texas to beat him.

He’s not the only precocious winner. Sam has just been accepted to play in the prestigious French Boys championship next month.

“It’s a great field – all the top Germanys, Spaniard and Italians will be there,” he tells me.

“What about Matteo Manassero?,” I ask, referring the 16-year old Italian teenage amateur who played with Tom Watson at last year’s British Open and finished 13th. Manassero had played at the British Boys at Royal St. Georges where both he and Sam were eliminated in the same round.

“Oh, no, Manassero is playing that week in the Masters,” Sam tells me with a smile. “Afterward he is turning pro.”

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