Korean star Byeong Hun An fired a 5-under 65 in the third round of the Wyndham Championship on Saturday to keep his hopes for a first PGA TOUR victory.
The 31-year-old An continued to shine at Sedgefield Country Club, securing six birdies against a single bogey to finish in solo fourth on 15-under 195, three shots behind 54-hole co-leaders Lucas Glover (62) and Billy Horschel (63) in the final event of the PGA TOUR 2022-23 Regular Season.
Countryman Sungjae Im will enter the final day in tied 16th position on 202 after signing for a solid 67 while another Korean Si Woo Kim and C.T. Pan of Chinese Taipei carded 69 and 68 respectively tie for 43rd place.
Chinese duo Marty Zecheng Dou and Carl Yuan could not make any headway on the penultimate day as they carded a 70 and 73 for T56 and T63 respectively.
An, who has three runner-up finishes on the PGA TOUR, is aiming to join an illustrious group of Asian players, which includes his compatriots K.J. Choi (2005), Si Woo Kim (2016) and Tom Kim (2022), as well as Japan’s Shigeki Maruyama (2003) and India's Arjun Atwal (2010), who have won the tournament.
Powered by a ball-striking masterclass, An is delighted to stay in the title hunt for the third day. He is currently ranked second in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green, having gained 9.058 strokes over the first three days of the tournament.
Except for the last birdie on the 16th hole where he holed a 26-footer, all the other five were from inside seven feet. “Not hitting out of bounds definitely helps. Yesterday I had one on 17, but today kept it clean,” said An, who missed three fairways and three greens in regulation during his round.
“Hit a lot of shots in the fairway some of the long par 4s, that helps a lot out here. Getting birdie on that No. 14, I think that's massive. Had some good driving and hit some good shots and hit it somewhere close and made lots of birdies today.”
An also stressed the importance of seizing the opportunity of the scoreable greens at Sedgefield.
“Greens are pure, it rolls to where you look at it, so that's why you can see some low scores,” he said. “And I guess we're pros, so when the greens are nice like this if you start rolling in the putts, I think the putts are going in, it's not doing something weird or anything.”
Glover, the 2009 U.S. Open champion, sank nine birdies against a lone bogey en route to a sparkling 62 as he recorded his career's best 54-hole score on TOUR to share the penultimate stage lead on 18-under 192 with 2014 FedEx Cup champion Billy Horschel, who also impressed with a 63 following a flawless round containing seven birdies.
The pair hold a one shot-lead against Russell Henley, who surrendered his overnight lead despite a brilliant 65. Glover and Horschel, currently ranked 112th and 116th in the FedExCup points list respectively, are making their last-ditch attempts this week to crack the top 70 and qualify for the FedExCup playoffs. Both needed at least a tied runner-up finish or better to accomplish the feat.
"Everybody's going to come out guns blazing tomorrow, especially guys up to because they know somebody's going low," said Glover, the 2009 U.S. Open champion.
"Same mindset as today, just be aggressive where you can, be smart where you have to and hope the putts are going in."