A RETURN to Quail Hollow Club for this week’s Wells Fargo Championship could well be the impetus to spark a return to form for Korea’s An Byeong-hun.
The 29-year-old former US Amateur champion holds a career-best finish of tied eighth at the famed venue in Charlotte, North Carolina, which will also host the Presidents Cup next year. Following his International Team debut against the United States two years ago, Byeong-hun is keen to jump on a strong run of form and play his way into a fifth successive FedExCup Playoffs and get on captain Trevor Immelman’s International Team as well in 2022.
The signs are slowly turning in his favour as last week, Byeong-hun snapped a frustrating five-tournament missed cut run on the PGA Tour.
“It’s a good golf course ... there are a lot of hazards here and there, and some tough greens too. It’s not an easy course. There are some short holes and you have some tough par fours and drivable par fours. You can play around with the format and I think it’ll be great for a team competition, ” said Byeong-hun.
This season has been Byeong-hun’s most challenging since his first full season on the PGA Tour in 2017.
Changes made to his golf swing with new coach Sean Foley have been slow to set in and despite a top-10 finish early in January, the quality of his ball striking, so often his strength, has been below par. He currently ranks 144th in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee and 131st in Approach to Green.
Ever the optimist, Byeong-hun hopes to draw on some inner fire which he produced so gallantly during the Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne to spur him on over the next few months as he chases a top-125 position to qualify for the FedExCup Playoffs.
He currently ranks 156th.
“It’s so fun that week, ” recalled Byeong-hun of his first Presidents Cup experience.
“I feel like I’m playing for something bigger than myself. Golf is such an individual sport as you’re always playing for yourself every week. Every two years we have the team format, it’s more fun and you’re playing for your country and the international team.
“It’s different and special. It’s always been my dream and goal to play in the Presidents Cup.
“Hopefully, I can show some form over the next couple of months till next year and qualify again, which is one of my biggest goals.”
Other Asians in this week’s field include South Korea’s Im Seing-jae, K. J. Choi, Kang Sung-hoon, Taiwan’s C.T. Pan and China’s Zhang Xinjun, who will face a stellar line-up which includes four of the top five players in Official World Golf Ranking: Justin Thomas (2), Jon Rahm (3), Xander Schauffele (4) and Bryson DeChambeau (5). Max Homa is the defending champion.