An Byeong-hun named European Tour Golfer of the Month

June 25, 2015
South Korea's An Byeong-hun won the European Tour's Golfer of the Month (EPA/yonhap)

South Korea’s An Byeong-hun won the European Tour’s Golfer of the Month (EPA/yonhap)

By Kwon Ji-youn

South Korean golfer An Byeong-hun was named the Hilton European Tour Golfer of the Month for his record-breaking win at this year’s BMW PGA Championship.

On its official website Thursday, the European Tour announced that An had won the award for “producing a mesmerizing display in his first appearance at the Wentworth Club.” The 23-year-old on May 25 carded a final round of 65 and an aggregate of a 21-under 267 to become the first Asian winner of the BMW PGA Championship and the first rookie winner since Scott Drummond in 2004.

“It feels fantastic to win this award and I’m grateful to the panel for voting for me,” said An according to the European Tour. “It’s a huge honor to be the first Asian winner of the BMW PGA Championship, and to win the European Tour’s flagship event in my rookie season is a dream come true. It’s easily my highlight as a professional so far, and I hope I can build on this and have a long and successful career.”

An was selected among six players considered for the award including Dane Soren Kjeldsen, who won his first European Tour title in six years at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open; and world No. 1 Rory McIlroy, winner of the WGC-Cadillac Match Play Championship. Other candidates included English James Morrison, South African George Coetzee and Spaniard Miguel Jimenez.

But the panel, comprised of journalists, voted for An, whose claim to fame is his ability to consistently hit 300-yard drives in the fairway. Kjeldsen followed closely and Morrison ended up in third. According to the European Tour, panel member Richard Boxall, a commentator for Sky Sports, said, “The manner in which An won the BMW PGA Championship was so impressive. Not only did he win his first European Tour title in the flagship event, he did so in superb style, completely unfazed by the pressure and the vastly more experienced players chasing him.

“He’s a huge talent and has shown he’s got the maturity and attitude to go with it, so I can see him going far in the game.”

An will now vie against Danny Willett (European Tour Golfer of December), Gary Stal (January), Anirban Lahiri (February), Richie Ramsay (March) and Wu Ashun (April) for 2015 European Tour Golfer of the Year, which will be decided by a selection panel at the season-ending DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.

An has thereby brightened his prospects for a spot on the international team at the Presidents Cup which will be at the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea in Incheon, Gyeonggi Province, in October. An is currently the world No. 55 in the official world golf rankings adjusted through the U.S. Open, a rank five notches down from a week earlier. Last week, An missed the cut in his first-ever U.S. Open appearance.

The top 10 non-European international players in the world rankings at the end of the 2015 Deutsche Bank Championship on Sept. 7 will make the team under their own steam, while captain Nick Price will nominate two additional players. An is currently sitting at 10th in the Presidents Cup international standings, a rank down from a week before, with 124.35 total points.