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Golf: Korea’s ‘Big Ben’ honoured by European Tour for Wentworth win

Ben An shot a record total to win the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth. Photo: Getty Images.

Ben An shot a record total to win the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth. Photo: Getty Images.

June 23, 2015: Ben An Byeong-hun has been named the Hilton European Tour Golfer of the Month for May in recognition of the young Korean’s record-breaking victory in the BMW PGA Championship.

 

The European Tour rookie is the third Asian winner in four months, following India No. 1 Anirban Lahiri (February) and Alex Wu Ashun (April) of China.

 

An, 23, produced a mesmerising display on his first appearance at Wentworth Club, thrilling the huge crowds with rounds of 71, 64, 67 and 65 for a 21-under-par total, a record low in relation to par for the circuit’s flagship event.

 

The 6-foot 1-inch Korean shrugged off the pressure of sharing the lead heading into the final day to leave many vastly more experienced rivals trailing in his wake, cruising to a six-shot victory from Thongchai Jaidee and Miguel Angel Jimenez.

 

The Challenge Tour graduate is the first Asian winner of the BMW PGA Championship. As well as pocketing the €833,330 first prize, he earned a place at the US Open and The Open Championship.

 

“It feels fantastic to win this award and I’m grateful for the panel for voting for me,” said An, who received Hilton HHonours Diamond Elite Status.

 

“It’s a huge honour 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 the highlight as a professional so far. I hope I can build on this and have a long and successful career.”

 

Panel member Richard Boxall, a respected commentator for Sky Sports, said: “The manner in which Byeong-hun 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.”

 

Danny Willett (December), Gary Stal (January) and Richie Ramsay (March) are the other winners of Golfer of the Month award this season.

 

Source: European Tour (www.europeantour.com); Editing by SportAsia

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