NAPA, CALIFORNIA – SEPTEMBER 17: Byeong Hun An of South Korea hits from the bunker on the fifth hole during the third round of the Fortinet Championship at Silverado Resort and Spa North course on September 17, 2022 in Napa, California. (Photo by Orlando Ramirez/Getty Images)

Korea’s Byeong Hun An ended the third round at the Fortinet Championship on Saturday just as he started, two strokes off the lead as he chases for a maiden PGA TOUR win.

It wasn’t quite the 31st birthday to remember as An was disappointed with his haul on the par-5s at Silverado Resort and Spa North course in Napa, California en route to a 1-under 71 where he was 2-over on those scoring holes. On Friday, he sank three birdies and one eagle which pushed him into contention in the PGA TOUR’s 2022-23 season-opening event.

Justin Lower, playing alongside An, carded a fine 69 to seize his career first third round lead on 13-under, with defending champion Max Homa (72) and former Masters winner Danny Willet (72) lying one back in joint second.

 Yeah, it was tough out there,” conceded An. “It was a little breezy, greens getting firmer and firmer. I feel I played decent all the way through. Got a bit unlucky, went out of bounds on No. 5, the par 5. Hit a good shot, but just caught a flyer so nothing to do about it. Then with the double on 16 as well, that kind of hurts. I didn’t score as well as yesterday on the par 5s, but it’s golf.”

An began his day nicely with three birdies against a lone bogey to turn in 34 and then grabbed the lead with an eight-foot birdie on the par-3, 15th hole. A pulled second shot into the par-5 16th saw his ball resting against the roots of a tree which he took a penalty drop. His subsequent recovery fourth shot struck a branch as his ball ended short of the green and he needed three more stabs to stagger off with a double bogey seven.

Making his return on the PGA TOUR after spending one season on the Korn Ferry Tour, An, who was once ranked in the world’s top-30, remains optimistic for a first win. “I’m still hitting it pretty good, I feel like I’m rolling it decent. Tomorrow’s going to be a rainy day, so hopefully my long game will help,” said An, whose holds three career runner-up finishes at the 2016 Zurich Classic of New Orleans, 2018 Memorial Tournament and 2018 RBC Canadian Open.

China’s Marty Zecheng Dou sank four birdies against two bogeys for a 70 and T13 at 8-under, five back of the leader. The 25-year-old, who is starting his second stint on the PGA TOUR after his debut in 2018, is seeking a career first top-10 in what is his 28th start this week.

Korean rookie S.H. Kim of Korea carded a 71 for 7-under and will enter Sunday’s final round, which tee times have been brought forward due to impending poor weather, in a share of 17th position.

Third-Round Notes – Saturday, September 17, 2022

Weather: Mostly sunny. High of 77. Wind SW 12-22 mph.

Third-Round Leaderboard

Justin Lower         63-71-69—203 (-13)

Max Homa           65-67-72—204 (-12)

Danny Willett      68-64-72—204 (-12)

Byeong Hun An    66-68-71—205 (-11)         

- Advertisement -