Byeong-hun An claimed his maiden European Challenge Tour title after a superlative final round 64 earned him a three shot victory at the Rolex Trophy, becoming the first Korean to win on Europe’s top developmental tour.
The 23 year old, who still holds the record as youngest player to win the US Amateur Championship having won in 2009, began the day an incredible seven shots off the pace but reeled off eight birdies in a stunning eight under par final round to finish on 19 under for the tournament.
Five birdies the seven holes after the turn were enough to secure his place in Challenge Tour history and move to fourth in the Rankings on €85,677, making the Orlando-based player a virtual certainty for The European Tour next year.
The 2014 season has been a breakthrough campaign for a player upon whose shoulders much expectation rested when he arrived on the Challenge Tour in 2012 - becoming the first player from the Asian nation to earn a card for Europe’s second tier - following a stellar amateur career.
An was thrilled to finally earn a first professional title having finished runner-up three times in the last two seasons.
“It is my first professional win and I’m so happy,” said the Seoul-born player. “I had a lot chances to win this season but every time I finished second or fourth.
“I played really well every time but I felt that I threw it away. I was pretty mad after the last three holes of the third round, dropping four shots, which was very disappointing. This time again, I played really well and it was good enough to win.
“I think I was lucky that I had this great round when the other guys were struggling. I couldn't have done better today in these windy and chilly conditions.
“I have been playing well for weeks now but I felt this morning that I hit it well at the practice range. I wanted to do my best and I took advantage on the easy holes. But honestly I never holed more than from six feet for birdie. Maybe once, I needed to hole a ten-footer on a par five but that was it.
“The last time I won was five year ago as an amateur. It is amazing to be the first Korean player to win on Challenge Tour. I am so happy with that.”
Benjamin Hebert, the 2011 champion of this event, was the closest challenger to An in the end but the Frenchman could not carry the momentum from his third round 65 and a level par final round 72 meant he finished runner up on 16 under par.
“I am disappointed and happy at the same time,” said the four-time Challenge Tour winner. “It did not go my way today but honestly I did not play as well in any other round as I did in the last round, but you need to hole putts too. But I am happy, my goal was a podium finish and I made it.
“I really want to get back on The European Tour and with this second place alone I am not far away from having enough money to graduate. But I don't want to think too much about the top 15, I just want to keep on playing well during the big events which are coming up.”
Lasse Jensen, the leader by two shots heading into the final round, struggled to a three over par final round 75 and finished in a share of third place alongside Englishman Callum Shinkwin, who signed for a three under 69 to also finish the week on 15 under par.