Sungjae Im soars on eagles’ wings in Wyndham C’ship opener

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Sungjae Im - TheGolfingHub
Sungjae Im displayed immaculate ball striking where he hit 17 greens in regulation at the Wyndham Championship. Photo: Getty Images

Korean star Sungjae Im soared on eagle’s wings as he flew into second place with a superb 7-under 63 following the first round of the Wyndham Championship on Thursday as countryman Joohyung “Tom” Kim continued to impress a week after securing his PGA TOUR card.

Related: Kevin Kisner ready for another bruising playoff at Wyndham C’ship

India’s Anirban Lahiri was another leading Asian performer as he enjoyed a solid 66 at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, North Carolina for his best score since May. American John Huh leads the US$7.3 million tournament following a career-low 61.

 

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The 24-year-old Im, currently 15th on the FedExCup standings, expertly holed identical 20-foot putts for eagles on Hole No. 15 and 5 after starting his day from the 10th. With his immaculate ball striking where he hit 17 greens in regulation, he picked up four more birdies on Hole Nos. 11, 16, 17 and 6 against a lone bogey on the 4th. Im had also shot two eagles in the third round of the RBC Heritage in April.

 

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“I think the course here suits me very well,” smiled Im, who holds two top-10s at Sedgefield. “I was able to start my round with two eagles which I’m very happy about. I also shot a few birdies at the beginning so that helped create a good feel for my game.”

The Korean, who is nicknamed Ironman Im, was delighted with his putting, where he ranked ninth in the Strokes Gained: Putting stat after day one against his season’s current standing of 61st place. He needs a two-way T2 or better to have a chance to finish in the Comcast Business TOUR TOP 10, which will earn him a US$1 million bonus payout. “I’ve got two top-10s here and I always make the cut and do great. I hope it will continue this week. The Playoffs will start soon and I hope my game continues from now to the end of the season. I hope I can finish great,” said the two-time PGA TOUR winner.

Kim, who virtually secured his PGA TOUR card for next season after a seventh place finish in the Rocket Mortgage Classic on Sunday, could only laugh at himself after staggering off the first green with a quadruple bogey eight. The 20-year-old fought back with seven birdies, including four in the last six holes, to sign for a creditable 67 for T23 position.

 

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“I was only laughing because it was the first hole of the day and it was probably the worst start I’ve ever had in my career so far. All I could do was laugh because just some shots I hit there was pretty awful. But I don’t know, for some reason I felt calm. It was one bad hole and I just told myself, you know what, I can still get this, I can still shoot under par today and somehow I did,” said Kim.