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Monday 5 December 2016

hun an shines at wentworth

Korean's 'life-changing' win sees him shoot up rankings

Korea's Byeong Hun An hailed a "life-changing" victory after confirming the promise he showed as an amateur with a commanding win in the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.

An carded a final round of 65 to finish 21 under par and beat the previous tournament record by two shots, finishing six ahead of veterans Miguel Angel Jimenez and Thongchai Jaidee.

Chris Wood was two shots further back in fourth after a closing 66 which included winning a BMW i8 worth £100,000 for a hole-in-one on the 14th, a tournament-record fifth ace of the week.

An is just the third player to win the European Tour's flagship event on their debut and claimed the first prize of £600,000, just 11 months after he was earning £1,581 for finishing joint 25th in the Scottish Hydro Challenge at Aviemore.

And the 23-year-old - who became the youngest winner of the US Amateur title in 2009 at the age of 17 - moves from 132nd in the world rankings to inside the top 60 as a result, securing his place in the US Open and Open Championship.

"It's like a fifth major to me. It's the biggest title I have won and gets me into a lot of events. This is life-changing," An said. "I'm still really excited and over the moon right now.

"I wasn't expecting this. I didn't know that a win was this close. It came all of a sudden. I've been playing well all year but I never thought I would win this event.

"I played really well today. I was nervous at the start of the day but confident on every hole because I was hitting it well and putting nicely. I made some mistakes but being bogey-free I think is very good out here.

"It was great to go into the last hole with a six-shot lead and I love that I'm the first Asian to win this event. It's great."

An began the final round tied for the lead with Italy's Francesco Molinari and, despite picking up shots at the second and fourth, was only one ahead at the turn thanks to a hat-trick of birdies from Jaidee from the fifth.

He made certain of victory with birdies on the 15th and 17th and a par on the last completed a hugely impressive performance.

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