South Korea’s Byeong-hun An says his life will never be the same again after he turned the European PGA Championship into a procession winning the prestigious event by six shots at Wentworth on Sunday.
Twenty-three-year old An carded a final round 65 to finish on a tournament record mark of 267, 21-under par, beating the 19-under winning scores recorded by Scott Drummond in 2004 and Anders Hansen in 2002.
An pocketed a winning prize of 833,333 euros for the best performance of his career in his 31st event on the European Tour.
An gets a three-year exemption on the European Tour as well as the massive prize money pot and will shoot up the world rankings from 132nd place.
“I never thought I would win this event,” An told reporters.
“It’s going to be life changing. It’s the biggest event on The European Tour and you get a lot of benefits.
“This has got me into a lot of events. I’m just over the moon right now.
“It was great to go into the last hole with a six-shot lead and especially walking off the green knowing that I’ve done it.”
On a memorable day for Asian golf, Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee finished in a tie for second on 273 alongside Spain’s Miguel Angel Jimenez and two shots clear of England’s Chris Wood who had a hole-in-one on his way to a 66.
Italy’s Francesco Molinari, who was tied for the lead with An overnight, faded to a closing 74 and fifth after leading for the first three days.
Joint runner-up Jaidee tipped An to be major player in the coming years after becoming the first Asian winner of the tournament.
He said: “It is nice to see an Asian boy win the tournament. This is a big tournament in Europe and he played really solid today.
“He’s very young and he has more confidence now. He can be the star player of the future.”
An was the youngest winner of the US Amateur when he claimed the crown aged 17 in 2009 at Southern Hills but had won just once as a professional before this win and this was his first appearance in Europe’s biggest event outside the British Open.
Richard Greene was the highest-placed Australian in the field, finishing 16 shots off the pace for a tie for 22nd.
Greene earned 53.500 euros for his efforts while compatriot Marcus Fraser, who finished a further shot back to finish joint 27th, notched 43.750 euros.