Feb 5th, 2017
Byeong Hun An leads in Phoenix
By one shot over Martin Laird
Words: John Dean Photography: Getty Images
Byeong Hun An holds a one–shot lead over Martin Laird going into the final round of the Waste Management Open in Phoenix.
Both players shot six-under par rounds of 65, with halfway joint–leader An claiming an outright lead on 16 under.
The Korean shot to prominence when he won the European Tour’s flagship BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth in 2015.
He made four close range birdies on the front nine, and with a successfully executed 12–footer on the 10th, and a six–footer on the 17th.
Further gains came from 12 feet on the 10th and six feet on the 17th to give An a one shot lead over Laird, who dropped a shot on the second but came back strong with four consecutive birdies from the third.
Laird then picked up further shots on the 13th, 14th and 18th.
“I played really nicely today,” Laird told pgatour.com. “Yesterday was a little bit of a struggle with my iron game but I got that sorted out after I played and today I played really nicely.
“I was right in the mix in 2015, I like this golf course, I’m comfortable here. I live five minutes down the road.
“I know that if I can go out and play like I did the last three days I’ll be right there tomorrow.”
Tied in third place are defending champion Hideki Matsuyama, Graham DeLaet, Michael Kim and John Peterson. They are four shots off the leader, so will need to get their skates on today if they are to have any hope of catching An.
It’s Superbowl Sunday and the final round of the Phoenix Waste Management, so its one of the great sporting days in US. A fiercely patriotic crowd will be hollering for an American victor, so An is going to need to keep his head down if he is going to get the job done. But he’s proven he can do it, and his approach play is looking very convincing.