HONOLULU, HAWAII – JANUARY 14: Byeong Hun An of South Korea and Grayson Murray of the United States shake hands on the 18th green during the final round of the Sony Open in Hawaii at Waialae Country Club on January 14, 2024 in Honolulu, Hawaii. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Korea’s Byeong Hun An agonizingly missed a four-foot birdie putt to extend a playoff at the Sony Open in Hawaii in search of a maiden PGA TOUR victory but rather than feel despondent, he walked away with more gratitude in his heart on Sunday.

The 32-year-old An closed with a stellar 6-under 64 at Waialae Country Club in Honolulu for an 17-under total to join a three-man playoff with Keegan Bradley (67) and eventual winner, Grayson Murray (67) who buried a 38-foot birdie putt in extra time to claim his second career victory.

China’s Carl Yuan was also in the title mix following a gutsy 63 which included a costly bogey on 17 that saw him finish one shot outside the playoff trio in tied fourth place in the US$8.3 million tournament.

It was An’s fifth career runner-up finish on the PGA TOUR, and his second top five in successive weeks after finishing solo fourth at The Sentry in Maui last Sunday. While he looked back at some missed putts, including a 13-foot eagle attempt on 18 in regulation and his birdie miss on the first extra hole after watching Murray hole his long range attempt, An put it all into perspective.

“It just feels very disappointing. Came down to the last putt,” said An, who moves up to second place in the FedExCup points list. “I didn’t have the best start with a bogey, birdie, bogey, missed some short ones out there. Hung in there, had some good run in the middle and finished off with pretty good birdies at the end.

“I made some silly mistakes yesterday, today, and over the last four days, so it’s really – I’m not trying to blame the last putts, but obviously it comes down to that. Overall had a solid week. I feel like I played well all around. It wasn’t too bad,” added An, who should return into the world’s top-50 for the first time since March, 2020 when the ranking is updated.

An’s high finishes in the Hawaiian events ensure his maintained his recent career trend. After losing his PGA TOUR card in 2021, he featured on the Korn Ferry Tour for one season before regaining his card and then finished Top 50 on the FedExCup points list last year. While the hard work with coaches Sean Foley and John Graham, plus a switch to the broomstick putter, have been instrumental, An believes that a change in how he viewed his golf career and life has been pivotal, more so with two young children with his wife Jamie.

“I think honestly, gratitude,” he replied when asked what has been the biggest change. “I tried hard the last couple of months when I took some time off to try and look back at why every round mattered a little bit too much. Our team came up with, it doesn’t matter. Golf doesn’t matter that much.

“It means a lot to me and our family, but I tried to take a little bit of weight off my shoulders. I know I prepared pretty well in the off-season, so I think the result shows. Even with the tough start today and the last couple of weeks, I always came back with some birdies at the end and finished pretty strong. I think that was the biggest change, I guess. I think the results showed this week and last week. It’s been going pretty well.”

In regulation play, An, who holds one win on the DP World Tour, conceded he made bad reads on his eagle attempt on the 72nd hole and during the first extra hole for birdie to extend the playoff. “Hit it exactly where I wanted. Hit a good putt, just was a bad read” said An about his eagle chance. “(And) just a poor putt (in the playoff) and poor read at the end which could have happened on any holes during 73 holes. It’s a shame it ended that way. It hurts, but what are you going to do?

“I still have a long way to go, the swing, putting, short game, everything. I feel like we always say it’s not mine, we always rent it. We rent this good run of golf, and hopefully, I can rent it a little bit longer. When I take a couple of weeks off and come back to Pebble Beach, hopefully, I can get this run going (again).

Murray, who like last week’s winner Chris Kirk overcame alcoholism, was over the moon to return to the winner’s circle after his first triumph in 2017 during his rookie season. “That a lot of hard work pays off. It’s not easy, you know. I want to give up a lot of times, give up on myself, give up on the game of golf, give up on life at times,” he said.

“This is a silly game. Hats off to Ben and hats off to Keegan for a well-played event. Unfortunately, one person has to win, and that’s the way it goes in playoffs. But I’m very pleased. I knew I had to give it (his birdie putt) a chance. I wasn’t going to leave it short. 100 percent of the putts that you leave short don’t go in. I just gave it my best stroke, and obviously, it went in.”

Final-Round Notes – Sunday, January 14, 2024

Weather: Partly cloudy. High of 78. Wind SW 6-12 mph.

Final Leaderboard

Pos. Player R1 R2 R3 R4 Total Updated playoff records
P1 Grayson Murray 69 63 64 67 263 (-17) 1-0
P2 Byeong Hun An 67 64 68 64 263 (-17) 0-3
P2 Keegan Bradley 67 66 63 67 263 (-17) 3-2
T4 Carl Yuan 66 65 70 63 264 (-16)  
T4 Russell Henley 69 66 66 63 264 (-16)  


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