Any golf fans who hadn’t heard of An Byeong-hun prior to the European Tour’s flagship event at Wentworth recently, must surely now be aware of Asia’s answer to Rory McIlroy after his record-breaking PGA BMW Championship triumph.
In a blaze of audacious, pin-seeking golf in Surrey which drew obvious comparisons to the world number one’s arrival on the scene, Byeong-hun secured his first European Tour win with the lowest recorded score in the Championship’s history, finishing 21-under-par.
To those in the know, the 23-year-old Korean’s stunning breakthrough at Wentworth probably didn’t raise eyebrows skywards however.
Byeong-hun left the amateur ranks with a burgeoning reputation thanks to his 2009 US Open triumph, but it’s his follow up effort at the 2010 edition that holds most interest in the build up to the full-fat 2015 version beginning on June 18th.
That edition of the Amateur US Open was the only major championships to be staged at Chambers Bay since its completion as an authentic links course in 2007, set into shoreline of Puget Sound on America’s Pacific Northwest coast.
Back then, Byeong-hun became the first defending champion to reach the semi-finals of the dual stroke-play/match-play event since Tiger Woods in 1996.
This is probably a good time to mention his price to win the forthcoming US Open is 66/1.
These odds are fantastic, especially because of the unfamiliarity of this moonscape-like layout to the vast majority of the field.
The US Open is being staged at a brand new venue for the first time in 45 years, something which has irked some of the traditionalists, but with players such as McIlory mocking par at some of the regular venues in recent times, this should prove a unique leveller.
One more feather in Byeong-hun’s cap; his best finish in a full-blown major came in comparable links conditions at last year’s Open Championship, where he tied for a share of 26th at Royal Liverpool.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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