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May 28, 2017

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Seung-Yul Noh seizes lead with Tiger Woods in hot pursuit

NORTON, Massachusetts--Seung-Yul Noh capped a flawless 9-under 62 with two birdies on Friday to seize a one-shot first-round lead in the Deutsche Bank Championship, the second stop in the U.S. PGA Tour playoffs.

South Korea's Noh, playing in more testing afternoon conditions, roared past early pace-setters Tiger Woods and Jeff Overton, who had shared the morning clubhouse lead on 64 but ended the day sharing third place alongside Ryan Moore and behind Noh and American Chris Kirk — who carded an 8-under 63 at the TPC Boston.

Noh nabbed his first birdie of the day on the par-5 second, then reeled off four-straight birdies from the fourth. Four birdies coming home included back-to-back efforts at 17 and 18 — where he landed a wedge five feet from the pin.

"Everything (was) good today," said the 21-year-old Noh, who won on the Asian Tour at 17 and earned his U.S. tour card in qualifying school in December.

Like Woods, he works with swing coach Sean Foley, but he can't claim the name recognition of Foley's most famous client — or much recognition at all yet in America.

"Some people say Kevin Na, like, 'Go Kevin,'" Noh said of fans who have mistaken him for the Korean-American player.

While he was delighted with his round, which was one shot off the course record of 61, Noh was well aware that plenty of golf remained in the event scheduled to end Monday on the U.S. Labor Day holiday.

"Golf is playing 72 holes, so plenty of holes left," he said.

Woods, too, knows that after enduring some wobbly weekend play this season.

Woods has won three times this season, but he has also seen several title challenges unravel on the weekend. He shared the halfway lead at two major championships only to falter and last week at The Barclays he stumbled home with a 72-76.

He was off to an undeniably hot start, however, with a round that included a string of six birdies and was his second-lowest of the season, bettered only by the 62 he carded in the final round of the Honda Classic.

He walked off the course with a one-shot lead but was quickly joined at 64 by Overton, who like Woods had eight birdies and one bogey in his round.

Overton, who needs a good finish here to advance to the next event of the playoffs at Crooked Stick — birdied five straight starting at the 12th and punctuated his round with a birdie at 18.

Kirk teed off on 10 and his round included an eagle at the 18th, which was expected to be more difficult after a redesign that included making the green smaller.

World number one Rory McIlroy and American Bryce Molder shared sixth place on 65, one shot in front of Australian John Senden and South African Louis Oosthuizen.

England's Luke Donald and Ian Poulter were among a group of seven players on 67.

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