South Korea’s Byeong Hun An became the first Asian winner of the BMW PGA Championships after a stunning, bogey-free final round 65(-7) on Sunday.
The 23-year-old set a tournament scoring record of 267(-21) and became only the third player in the history of the European Tour’s flagship event to emerge victorious in their first appearance.
While not a household name yet, it would be fair to assume this is not the last time we will be hearing about the talented youngster.
He was an extremely accomplished amateur. In 2009 An became the youngest ever winner of the US Amateur as a 17-year-old. He has since achieved promotion to the European Tour by finishing third in the final 2014 Challenge Tour rankings.
An was ‘in the zone’ on the back nine, dispatching shot after shot down the middle of the fairway before firing straight at the pin and making putts almost at will. Even when he was seemingly in trouble, he managed to produce excellent recovery shots to save par.
So what is ‘the zone’? Masters champion Jordan Spieth describes it as simplicity or ‘no thought’. The zone is the place from which peak performance arises, when your skill set is firing on all cylinders and coincides with being in a place of mental clarity. That is to say that you are not overloaded with thought or having a ton of thinking, just enough to make clear decisions, then trusting yourself and your skill set to produce the shot required.
Being in the zone means playing in ‘autopilot mode’, during a period of very little thinking. Therefore it is impossible to use mental strategies to ‘think’ your way into the zone. If you want to find yourself in the zone more often keep things simple, keep thinking to a minimum and trust your instincts.
Try it – and see what potential it unlocks.