U.S. Amateur Champ An Opens Bay Hill With 77

Reigning U.S. Amateur champion Byeong-Hun An is prepping for his Masters appearance in two weeks by competing in this week's Arnold Palmer Invitational in Orlando, Fla. (John Mummert/USGA)

March 26, 2010

Orlando, Fla. – Despite having to chew on a rather dyspeptic 5-over-par 77 Thursday in the opening round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational, U.S. Amateur champion Byeong-Hun An enjoyed getting his first taste of tournament golf at the professional level.

“I’m having a great time. I just wish I was playing better. I’m disappointed, yeah,” said An, the 18-year-old from Korea who last August became the youngest U.S. Amateur champion when he defeated Ben Martin, 7 and 5, at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Okla. “I love the atmosphere here. It’s been great meeting a lot of great players.”

Playing with Southern Amateur champion Gregor Main and PGA Tour rookie Josh Teater, An made just one birdie against four bogeys and a double bogey on the 7,381-yard, par-72 Championship Course at Bay Hill Club and Lodge. He admitted to being so nervous at the start that he didn’t feel calm until the second nine.

“I don’t think I even remember the first six or seven holes,” An said with a chuckle. “It did take me a while to kind of feel normal.”

His birdie at the 400-yard par-4 10th hole was the result of a 320-yard drive and a wedge shot to nine feet. “That felt good,” said An, who went on to shoot a steady even-par 36 on the inward nine, a performance marred only by a bogey at the signature 18th hole on Palmer’s famed resort course.

An, who received an automatic invitation to Bay Hill for his U.S. Amateur victory, hit seven fairways and 11 greens Thursday but needed 33 putts – though he didn’t have a three-putt.

Chipping and putting have been An’s focus, he said, for the last few months; no surprise with the Masters Tournament approaching. The U.S. Amateur champion traditionally receives an invitation to Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Ga., and An has accepted. He is scheduled to play the first two rounds April 8-9 with defending Masters champion Angel Cabrera and U.S. Open champion Lucas Glover.

 “I’ve been working on all parts of my game, but especially my short game. It’s probably my weakness right now,” said An, whose only previous competition in 2010 was last month’s Jones Cup at Ocean Forest Golf Club in Sea Island, Ga. An fired a 1-under-par 71 in the final round to finish fourth at 8-over 224, two shots behind Augusta State University sophomore and 2008 U.S. Amateur semifinalist Patrick Reed.

 An, who lives in Bradenton, Fla., said he planned to head to Augusta National next week, perhaps Wednesday or Thursday, to play a few practice rounds. It will be his first visit to the home of the Masters, and he’s trying not to get too excited.

 “All I know is what I’ve seen on television and this map of the course I have in my room,” said An. “Everyone knows what a great course it is, so, yeah, I am looking forward to it. But right now I’m trying to play my best in this golf tournament. I feel like I’ve already learned a few things. Playing with Josh [Teater, who shot even-par 72], I saw how he hung in there; he showed me a few things. The whole experience this week, I hope it helps me down the road.”

Partner Links
AmEx image
AmEx image
AmEx image
AmEx image

The USGA and Chevron have committed to using the game of golf to encourage students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines. This commitment has led to the creation of extensive golf-focused STEM teaching tools, and has resulted in charitable contributions to support golf-related programs through Eagles for Education™

At U.S. Open Championships the Chevron STEM ZONE™ is an interactive experience highlighting the science and math behind the game of golf through a variety of hands-on exhibits and experiments.

The partnership has also produced educational materials such as the Science of Golf video series and a nationally-distributed newspaper insert which are provided to teachers as tools to enhance existing curriculum in schools. These lessons teach the science behind the USGA’s equipment testing, handicapping, and agronomy efforts.

For more interactive experiences featuring golf-focused STEM lessons, visit the partnership homepage.

Chevron image

Rolex has been a longtime supporter of the USGA and salutes the sportsmanship and great traditions unique to the game. This support includes the Rules of Golf where Rolex has partnered with the USGA to ensure golfers understand and appreciate the game.

As the official timekeeper of the USGA and its championships, they also provide clocks throughout host sites for spectator convenience.

For more information on Rolex and their celebration of the game, visit the Rolex and Golf homepage.

Rolex image

IBM has partnered with the USGA to bring the same technology, expertise, and innovation it provides to businesses all over the world to the USGA and golf's national championship.

IBM provides the information technology to develop and host the U.S. Open’s official website, www.usopen.com, as well as the mobile apps and scoring systems for the three U.S. Open championships. These real-time technology solutions provide an enhanced experience for fans following the championship onsite and online.

For more information on IBM and the technology that powers the U.S. Open and businesses worldwide, visit http://www.usopen.com/IBM

AmEx image

Lexus is committed to partnering with the USGA to deliver a best-in-class experience for the world’s best golfers by providing a fleet of courtesy luxury vehicles for all USGA Championships.

At each U.S. Open, Women’s Open and Senior Open, Lexus provides spectators with access to unique experiences ranging from the opportunity to have a picture taken with both the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open trophies to autograph signings with legendary Lexus Golf Ambassadors in the Lexus Performance Drive Pavilion.

For more information on Lexus, visit http://www.lexus.com/

AmEx image
American Express

Together, American Express and the USGA have been providing world-class service to golf fans since 2006. By creating interactive U.S. Open experiences both onsite and online, American Express enhances the USGA’s effort to make the game more accessible and enjoyable for fans.

For more information on American Express visit www.americanexpress.com/entertainment

AmEx image