TULSA, Okla. – Winning this year’s U.S. Amateur came with plenty of perks for Byeong-Hun An, including invitations to majors at Augusta National, Pebble Beach and St. Andrews.
Here’s another one. An, a car buff, will get to drive a Ferrari. Joe Arsenault, a fellow member at The Concession Golf Club in Bradenton, Fla., said he’ll let An take the keys to his titanium Maranello for a day as a reward for his victory.
That’d be a thrill for any teenager, and An, in spite of this win, is your typical teen.
He listed his hobbies as texting and Facebook, and played with remote control cars during the break between the final’s two rounds. When someone asked him if he was going to drink beer out of the Havemeyer Trophy, An replied, “How about Sprite?”
An’s age puts him in a difficult spot, though. It’s hard enough for an adult to handle the pressure that comes with the title “U.S. Amateur champ.” I can’t imagine what it must be like for a 17-year-old.
I hope that outsiders unfamiliar with the junior landscape don’t start expecting An to win every AJGA event he enters. And I hope that he doesn’t start thinking he has to win every junior event he plays.
An is a very gifted player, one of the best in the country, in fact. He was a first-team AJGA All-American and is No. 34 in the Golfweek/Titleist Junior Rankings.
The fact that it had been years since he won an AJGA event shows the depth of talent in junior golf (in his past three starts, he finished T-23 in the Thunderbird, MC at the FootJoy and T-2 at the Rolex Tournament of Champions. Those are three of the organization’s larger events.)
We won’t have to wait long to see how An performs in a junior event. He is playing this week’s Junior Players Championship.