Jersey City: Korea’s Byeong Hun An is proving that patience can pay off at THE NORTHERN TRUST.
On Thursday, the 27-year-old rising star was 4-over through 10 holes at Liberty National Golf Club before salvaging his opening round with a late eagle for a 2-over 73 start. In his subsequent two rounds, An has sank 10 birdies against two bogeys to turn his week around in the PGA TOUR’s FedExCup Playoffs.
An fired a solid 68 in windy conditions on Saturday and now enters the final round in T24 on 6-under 207, eight shots back of leader Patrick Reed, who returned a 67 in the first of three Playoffs events.
The comeback has coincided nicely with An’s announcement on social media this week that he would become a father for the first time next February with his wife, Jamie.
“To be where I am now, I'm happy to be playing the weekend because I didn't putt great (on Thursday) and I knew I had to sort of have faith after last week (where he finished third). I wanted to keep the momentum going,” said An.
“I just stayed aggressive and made an eagle and I think that definitely helped, that gave me hope of trying to make the cut. Yesterday I was kind of lucky because I played in the morning and the wind was calmer and greens were nice, so I made a lot of putts. Everything just clicked. To be here playing the weekend, I think that's a big bonus after the sloppy start Thursday.”
An arrived in Jersey City in good form after challenging for a first PGA TOUR win at the Wyndham Championship last weekend before being pipped by eventual winner J.T. Poston. He is projected to progress into next week’s BMW Championship in Chicago which is limited to the top-70 players on the FedExCup points list but An is targeting a strong run to get himself into the TOUR Championship in Atlanta, which is for the best 30 players. The FedExCup champion will earn US$15 million.
“I stayed fairly aggressive. I was firing at the pins and I was getting aggressive because I know - like I said, I'm hitting it really well. I'm taking advantage of it, hitting it well, so just keep firing at pins. As long as I don't miss on the wrong spot, I can go a bit more aggressive and hopefully a lot of putts drop tomorrow,” said An.
A first appearance in the TOUR Championship would add to the good news that he and wife are expecting a baby boy early next year. Progressing to Chicago next week will also keep live his hopes of fighting for a Presidents Cup debut for the International Team.
“I'm really, really excited to hear that news and just can't wait to have my son. It's going to be fun,” he said. “It will be life-changing I think. You have two people and then adding another one. I'm looking forward to it. It's going to be a challenge but also extra fun and definitely something important in my life, more than golf.”
Countryman Sungjae Im struggled to a 76 in tough conditions in the third round and fell back to T51 while Si Woo Kim carded a 76 to be last amongst the 85 players who made the halfway cut on Friday.
American Patrick Reed leads THE NORTHERN TRUST by one shot from Abraham Ancer of Mexico.