Byeong An deals in eagles to stay firm in Wyndham C’ship

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Byeong An - TheGolfingHub
Byeong An finished third at Sedgefield in 2019 after opening with a 62 and reckons he could contend again for a first PGA TOUR victory this weekend. Photo: Getty Images

Korea’s Byeong Hun An brilliantly sank two eagles en route to a 3-under 67 and stayed in contention at the Wyndham Championship, the final event of the PGA TOUR 2022-23 Regular Season, on Friday.

The 31-year-old An, who is seeking a maiden TOUR victory, rolled in a monster 67-foot putt for eagle on the par-5 15th hole and then incredibly holed out his second shot on the par-4 9th hole from 94 yards at Sedgefield Country Club after starting his second round from the 10th.

Related: Easy 63 propels Byeong An as early contender at Wyndham

His two-day score of 10-under 130 puts him in joint third, two shots back of Russell Henley, who fired a 66 to preserve his one-shot overnight advantage over Billy Horschel, who rose into contention with a stunning 62.

 

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An certainly has a reason to smile after surviving a roller-coaster day that saw him mark his scorecard with three other birdies, two bogeys, and a double bogey. “Two eagles. Still four shots worse than yesterday, but it’s golf, I guess,” said An, who is ranked 52nd on the FedExCup points list.

“I had a lot more better shots yesterday. Today was a little disappointing, but nice golf. Hopefully, today was my worst out of all four days. I’ve got two more days to play golf, so we’ll see.”

Compatriot Sungjae Im fired an improved 66 to climb 30 rungs to tied 21st, seven off the pace, while China’s Carl Yuan and Si Woo Kim of Korea, the 2016 Wyndham Championship winner, both signed matching 67s for T31 and T40 respectively. Chinese Taipei C.T. Pan carded a 68 to safely make it through the weekend along with Marty Zecheng Dou, who battled to a 70 to finish above the 2-under cutline.

However, it was the end of the road for Korean duo K.H. Lee (68) and S.H. Kim (72) as they missed cut by two and three shots respectively, which ended their hopes of qualifying for Playoffs which begins next week with the FedEx St. Jude Championship in Memphis. Chinese Taipei’s Kevin Yu (72) and Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama (74) also missed the cut, although Matsuyama has already qualified for the first of three Playoffs events.

An’s strong showing so far cemented his fondness for the par-70 Sedgefield course. He extended an impressive streak of 10 consecutive rounds in the 60s, a run that goes back to 2019 when he finished a third in the tournament.

 

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“Somehow it works. I said it yesterday, it’s not a very long golf course. I tend to hit it farther than the average people, I don’t think there’s much of an advantage hitting it far on this golf course,” said An, who has three career runner-up finishes on TOUR. “You know, it has very severe greens that I guess that helps in hitting a lot of greens and making a lot of birdies.

“But it’s good confidence to have going into this event. I see a lot of the good finishers out here, historically they have good finishes every year. I’ve had some decent finishes, I feel pretty comfortable hitting the ball out of the Bermuda grass.”

Henley, a four-time PGA TOUR winner, notched five birdies, including three in his last five holes, against one bogey to retain the 36-hole lead. It was his fifth outright lead in the last 10 rounds at the Wyndham Championship (first three rounds in 2021, first two rounds in 2023).

 

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“I think my putting’s been really solid. I feel like my approach game when I’m in the fairway has been pretty good. I’ve made a lot of good par saves and made a decent amount of 10-, 15-footers, too,” said Henley.

The Wyndham Championship is the final event of the FedExCup Regular Season, with the top 70 in the FedExCup standings qualifying for next week’s FedEx St. Jude Championship (the first Playoffs event).  Horschel (2nd/-11), who has qualified for each of the last 10 Playoffs, needs a two-way T2 to have a chance to move into the top 70 of the FedExCup standings and qualify for the Playoffs.