Star of the Future: Byeong-Hun An

The Scoop

The youngest winner of the US Amateur turned pro in 2011 and is now playing on the Challenge Tour

MY BACKGROUND

I started following my dad, who really liked golf. We’d go to the range when I was young and I just started hitting balls there. Then I went to an elementary school which had a golf team and I just started playing for fun. It wasn’t until I was 15 when I took things to a higher level and moved to Florida to start playing competitively.

Both my parents were medallists in table tennis at the 1988 Olympics and my father always said he wouldn’t let me play because it was too hard! I think he recognises golf is better for me – you can play golf for 30 or 40 years but most table tennis players have to stop in their late 20s.

MY GAME

It’s getting better, I’m certainly better than last year and playing with much more confidence – especially after finishing eighth in India. It’s always good to start the season well and hopefully I’ll continue to improve. Generally I like to play positively and attack the pins, but it does depend on where you are playing. I think my short game is pretty good and that helps me get up and down from tricky positions. I wish I could putt a little bit better, particularly on greens which are difficult to read.

I’m trying to play as much golf as I can. My swing feels good and I’m putting OK so there’s nothing specific that I’m working on apart from hitting as many balls as I can on the range.

I am looking forward to every single tournament, I want to play well at St Omer and in Kazakhstan because they are the big majors – if I play well in those then I’ll be good to go.

MY CAREER (SO FAR)

Playing at the Masters was so exciting and, although I didn’t play well, just being there and experiencing the course and the crowd was incredible. Winning the US Amateur at such a young age was completely unexpected too. I didn’t realise how big that tournament was until I won it!

I love watching Tiger and Rory McIlroy when they’re playing well. I always look out for the Korean guys too. MY INSPIRATIONS

Definitely Tiger. I came through in the Tiger generation and he was playing well when I was young. Watching him win and create those unbelievable moments on the course was amazing.

I love watching Tiger and Rory McIlroy when they’re playing well. I always look out for the Korean guys too. More often than not I root for the guy in second place and hope for an exciting finish! I also look up to KJ Choi and YE Yang – they are legends and inspired a lot of Korean golfers to move on to the next stage.

MY LIFE ON TOUR

It’s fun! I particularly like the travelling and being in a different country every week. Hopefully this year I can play a little better than last year as well, but the relaxed nature really appeals to me. The courses are also superb. It’s really tough. There are so many good players on the tour and it will be tough to get into the top 10 this year.

I’m only 21 and in five years I want to be playing on the PGA Tour and hopefully holding some trophies. I feel like I’m getting there but it’s about staying patient and taking things one step at a time.

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