Korea’s Byeonghun An finished with two closing bogeys at The Open for a second successive one-under-par 70 on Friday but it didn’t bother him one bit.
With rain lashing down and winds blowing sideways for part of the day at Royal Troon, the 24-year-old An was relieved to conclude his second round without going through a golfing wreckage.
At two-under-par 140, he is inside the top-20 at the halfway stage as the leading Asian, some eight shots behind leader Phil Mickelson of the United States.
“It was hard, especially the first couple of holes and then the wind died down a bit. Then the last couple of holes was tough. I made bogey, bogey to finish, it was blowing sideways. Overall I played great. Shot the same score as yesterday but today definitely felt better,” said the Korean, who represented Asia in the EurAsia Cup earlier this season.
“I was just trying to make pars on every hole. When I hit driver, and had short irons in, I tried to go for it but other than that, the side winds are not easy to judge. It could be into you and could be down wind. You just battle it out and grind.”
The world number 31 is not ruling out a charge on Saturday’s traditional “moving day” but is counting on the forecasted fairer weather to prevail.
“Hopefully the weather will be nice. It’s one of the courses where you can go really low if there’s no wind or rain. Still two more days, I’m eight back but it’s still a long way to go,” said An, who is making his fourth appearance at The Open.
It was the end of the road though for An’s countryman Jeunghun Wang, whose Major debut ended with a second straight 75. Currently second on the Asian Tour’s Order of Merit, he vowed to be back despite the intricacies of facing a links test.
“I had a good experience. It’s actually good for me to play on a links course. I never thought I would play in this event and I have no regrets,” said the 20-year-old Wang, who in May eclipsed the late Seve Ballesteros as the youngest player to win back-to-back titles on the European Tour.
“I think I have to practice more in windy conditions. I have to also work on my putting as I missed a lot of putts. Need more experience and more practice to get better. It’s my first time playing in conditions like today.”
Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat also made an early exit from the year’s third Major, adding a 74 to his opening 75. He rued two triple bogeys and two double bogeys over his two rounds.
“It was tough conditions and I started so bad, bogey and triple. This week, I’ve got two doubles and two triples which cost me 10 shots. Too many big numbers but I tried hard after the second hole. In the 16 holes, I shot one under which is very good in these conditions,” said the 2013 Asian Tour number one.
“I’m disappointed with the result. This is my fourth Open and I’ve not made the cut. I’ve worked hard at my ball striking and was looking forward to something better. U.S. courses probably suits my game a bit better but to be a top player, you have to play every where. You can’t say that you can’t play in the wind and have to accept all conditions. I just need to work it out.”