Korea’s Byeong Hun An welcomed the arrival of his second child, a baby girl, earlier this week. She may well be the Baby Luck that has been missing as he chases a maiden PGA TOUR title.
An, 31, forced his way into contention at the weather-hit THE PLAYERS Championship on Friday, moving to 4-under and a share of eighth place at TPC Sawgrass with five holes of his second round remaining.
South African Christiaan Bezuidenhout and Canadian Adam Svensson co-lead the US$25 million PGA TOUR showpiece on 8-under with four and seven holes remaining respectively, while two-time major winner Collin Morikawa stood at 6-under through 11 holes alongside Min Woo Lee (through 15 holes) and Ben Griffin (71) when play was halted at 4.27pm due to inclement weather.
World No. 2 Scottie Scheffler was 5-under through 10 holes and will be amongst the 71 players having to return Saturday 7am to conclude their second rounds.
“It’s been good,” said An, who made one eagle, two birdies and a lone bogey through 13 holes.
“I’m playing pretty solid, my up and downs have been saving me all day. My putting has been feeling good. Hopefully can play a bit better tomorrow. A bit of an early wake-up call but it is what it is. I’ll try to play the best as I can, try to hit it close, hit it on the fairways and make some putts.”
Countryman Si Woo Kim, the 2017 PLAYERS champion, was tied for 20th position on 2-under through 12 holes while Tom Kim (+3 through 11 holes) and Sungjae Im (+3 through 9 holes) have their work cut out as the projected 36-hole cut is 1-over.
An, a former U.S. Amateur champion, holds three career runner-up finishes and could well enjoy a double dose of joy if he can pull off a victory on Sunday at THE PLAYERS Championship, which has been won previously by compatriots K.J. Choi (2011) and Si Woo Kim (2017).
On Tuesday, his wife Jamie gave birth in Seoul to their second child, whom the couple named Jiwoo. “I can’t wait to see her. But this is my job, this is my work. I definitely didn’t want to miss this week,” said An, who played on the Korn Ferry Tour last season.
The 28-year-old Bezuidenhout is a prodigy of South African legend Ernie Els, whose World Golf Hall of Fame career includes 19 PGA TOUR victories but does not include THE PLAYERS Championship which is the TOUR’s flagship event. Bezuidenhout, who has won three times on the DP World Tour, put himself in prime position with a flawless 14 holes featuring four birdies in blustery conditions.
“Yeah, it was good. The first nine holes was tough. It was so windy out there. But it actually died down over the last hour. I just tried to keep the ball in play. Of course I guess in that wind, it was just trying to hit fairways and give yourself looks at the green,” said Bezuidenhout, who was an International Team member at last September’s Presidents Cup.
World No. 1 Jon Rahm withdrew before his second round due to illness, snapping the TOUR’s longest active made-cuts streak at 25 while reigning FedExCup No. 1 Rory McIlroy was in danger of missing the cut where he was 6-over for the tournament through 10 holes.
Partial Second-Round Notes – Friday, March 10, 2023
Weather: Mostly cloudy. High of 81. Wind SSW 12-22 mph. Play was suspended for the day due to inclement weather at 4:27 p.m. ET and the second round will resume Saturday at 7 a.m. No players in the afternoon wave finished their round (71 players remain on the golf course). Third-round tee times will be approximately 10:40 a.m. – 12:40 p.m. ET in threesomes off Nos. 1 and 10.
|Christiaan Bezuidenhout||68||-4 (14*)||-8|
|Adam Svensson||68||-4 (11*)||-8|
|Ben Griffin||67||71 (F)||-6|
|Min Woo Lee||68||-2 (15*)||-6|
|Collin Morikawa||65||+1 (11)||-6|