Byeong-Hun An 17 youngest US Amateur champion ever

By Associated PressAugust 30, 2009, 4:00 pm
USGATULSA, Okla. ' Byeong-Hun An moved to the United States in pursuit of a better golf game.
 
He left his life and his mother half a world away and moved to a country where he didnt speak the language to learn the game hed first tried out by chance one day while his father was hitting balls at the driving range.
 
Byeong-Hun An at US Amateur
Byeong-Hun An watches his tee shot during the U.S. Amateur Finals Sunday at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Oklahoma. (Getty Images)
At 17, he entered the 109th U.S. Amateur in hopes of making it through the stroke-play qualifying portion and into match play. He left with the trophy, the youngest ever to do so.
 
It was a good decision, I think. Thanks to my dad telling me to come over here to play golf. It was definitely worth it, An said. I guess Ill have to try to win the bigger ones now.
 
An will get a chance to play in just about all the bigger ones. He earns an exemption into next years U.S. Open and British Open and, if tradition holds, hell be invited to play in the Masters, too. Not bad for a kid whos still a senior in high school.
 
I cant believe it. I just won, said An, who was missing the first week of school at Bradenton (Fla.) Preparatory Academy to play in the tournament. Ive said it before, but my goal was to make it to the first round and then somehow I made it this far. I think I got lucky.
 
An defeated Clemson senior Ben Martin 7 and 5 in the 36-hole final on a brutal Sunday at Southern Hills Country Club, the site of the 2007 PGA Championship. He was 9 over on the day, but that still put him well ahead of the struggling Martin.
 
An is the second straight champion born in South Korea. He moved to Florida 3 1/2 years ago to work on his game at the IMG Academy. He had won only one tournament since he started playing at age 6.
 
Now, hell take home the Havemeyer Trophy to put alongside the Olympic table tennis medals won by both of his parents at the 1988 Seoul Games. And itll be great timing: In about 10 days, his mom is planning to visit from China for the first time since January.
 
His dad, Jae, spent the week caddying for him and providing advice ' sometimes to the point that An had to tell him to stop talking.
 
He was saying the same thing all day, but it helped, said An, who has committed to play for California next year.
 
An took a 3 up lead by winning three of the last four holes in the pairings first of two 18-hole rounds. He doubled that edge as Martin bogeyed five of the first seven holes in the afternoon round, then closed it out after a short-lived comeback attempt by Martin.
 
An, who turns 18 on Sept. 17, is about a month and a half younger than Danny Lee was when he broke Tiger Woods record last year to become the U.S. Amateurs youngest champion. Lee was 18 years, 1 month, while Woods was seven months older than that when he won his first of three straight titles in 1994.
 
Other past champions include Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Phil Mickelson.
 
Hes a good player, no matter how old he is, said Martin, 22. I was just out there trying to play my game and do what I needed to do, but I didnt have it going and wasnt playing well enough to apply any pressure.
 
Martin was 1 up at the turn in the morning round and the match was all square after he knocked his tee shot at No. 14 off the flagstick, then had to recover for bogey when his ball rolled all the way off the green and into a bunker. It was a sign of things to come.
 
An won the next three holes, following Martins three-putt at No. 15 by sinking a 15-foot birdie putt. Martin then drove over the green on the par-4 17th, flubbed a chip and couldnt recover.
 
He briefly sliced into the lead when An made bogey to start the afternoon, but then hit over the green and into the water at No. 2. That started a stretch in which An won four of six holes without ever making a birdie.
 
As tough as this golf course is, youve got to be hitting quality shots, said Martin, who was 15 over. I was just kind of out there searching for something and never found it.
 
Martin won back-to-back holes at the final turn to get to 4 down, but An slammed the door by winning the next three holes ' starting with a birdie at the par-3 11th.
 
Like Ben, I didnt play well, actually, An said. He made more mistakes than me. I think thats how I won.
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - U.S. Amateur
  • Getty Images

    Watch: Tiger makes 6 birdies, 1 amazing par in Rd. 3

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 21, 2018, 4:10 pm

    Tiger Woods started the third round of The Open at even par, having made seven birdies and seven bogeys over the first 36 holes at Carnoustie.

    Following three pars to start on Saturday, Woods went on a birdie binge.

    No. 1 came with this putt at the par-4 fourth.


    No. 2 with this two-putt at the par-5 sixth.


    No. 3 thanks to this 30-footer at the par-4 ninth.


    No. 4 after nearly jarring his approach shot on the par-4 10th.


    No. 5 when he almost drove the green at the par-4 11th and two-putted, from just off the green, from 95 feet.


    And No. 6, which gave him a share of the lead, came courtesy another two-putt at the par-5 14th.


    Woods bogeyed the par-3 16th to drop out of the lead and almost dropped - at least - one more shot at the par-4 18th. But his tee shot got a lucky bounce and he turned his good fortune into a par.


    Woods shot 5-under 66 and finished the day at 5 under par.

    Getty Images

    Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship

    By Tiger TrackerJuly 21, 2018, 4:05 pm

    Tiger Woods made six birdies and one bogey on Saturday for a 5-under 66 in the third round of The Open. We're tracking him as he vies for major No. 15.


    Getty Images

    Rose's Saturday 64 matches Carnoustie Open record

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 21, 2018, 1:03 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Justin Rose needed to sink a 14-foot putt on the final hole Friday just to make the cut on the number at The Open.

    Freewheeling when he came to the course Saturday, Rose tied the lowest score ever recorded in an Open at Carnoustie.

    Entering the weekend nine shots off the lead, the world No. 3 carded a bogey-free, 7-under 64 to at least make things interesting. It won’t be known for several hours how many shots Rose will be behind, but his back-nine 30 gives him an opportunity, if the wind blows 25 mph Sunday as forecast, to challenge the leaders.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    After all, Paul Lawrie was 10 shots back entering the final round here in 1999.

    “I think the birdie on 18 last night freed me up, and I’m just very happy to be out on this golf course and not down the road somewhere else this morning,” said Rose, who is at 4-under 209. “So that might have been part of the shift in mindset today. I had nothing to lose from that point of view.”

    Rose’s 64 matched Steve Stricker and Richard Green’s record score at Carnoustie (2007).

    It also was Rose’s career-low round in a major.

    Getty Images

    Watch: Full replays of The Open coverage

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 21, 2018, 12:20 pm

    NBC Sports and Golf Channel are showcasing nearly 50 hours of live coverage of the 147th Open. Missed anything? Well, you can catch up right here. Click on the links below for replays from Carnoustie, broken down into daily segments:

    Saturday, Day 3 (Times ET)

    4:30-7AM (Watch): Sunny skies and birdies were on the menu early in Round 3, as Justin Rose made his way around Carnoustie in 64 strokes. Click here or on the image below to watch.


    Friday, Day 2 (Times ET)

    8:20AM-3PM (Watch): As the skies cleared on Friday afternoon, defending champion Jordan Spieth made a run to try and regain the claret jug. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the marquee group: Jordan Spieth, Justin Rose and Kiradech Aphibarnrat.

    1:30-8:20AM (Watch): On a rainy Friday morning at Carnoustie, Rory McIlroy shot 69 to reach 4 under, while Zach Johnson fired a 67 for the early lead. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the marquee group: Brooks Koepka, Ian Poulter and Cameron Smith.


    Thursday, Day 1 (Times ET)

    Noon-4PM (Watch): Tiger Woods was up and down in the afternoon, as winds picked up a little and no one could catch Kevin Kisner. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the marquee group: Woods, Russell Knox and Hideki Matsuyama.

    1:30-8:25AM (Watch): Defending champion Jordan Spieth got off to a good start, while Kevin Kisner (66) set the early pace. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the marquee group: Rickie Fowler, Jon Rahm and Chris Wood.