Im Seong-jae (23, CJ Korea Express), the ‘first Asian player’s rookie’ on the PGA Tour, reported his first win at the Honda Classic in March 2020, two years after his debut. It was a thrilling victory that was hard to achieve in the 50th competition. The second win did not come easily. Last year, he was the first Asian player to finish runner-up in the Masters Tournament, the first Asian player to win. However, Seong-jae Lim, nicknamed ‘Iron Man’ because he ranked first in the most matches every year, constantly honed himself by playing every game, and finally kissed the 2nd trophy in the 100th competition.
Seongjae Lim played the back heart of 9 birdies without bogey in the final 4 rounds of the PGA Tour’s Shriners Children’s Open (total prize of $7 million) held at TPC Summerlin (par 71, 7255 yards) in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA on the 11th. He shot a 9-under 62. Seongjae Lim, who recorded a final total of 24 under par 260, played a reverse play, outpacing Matthew Wolf (USA) by four strokes, returning to the top of the PGA Tour for the first time in a year and seven months since the Honda Classic in March 2020. Seongjae Lim, who achieved two wins in his 100th PGA Tour event, received a whopping $1.26 million (about 1.5 billion won). Im Seong-jae earned $1,032,788 in prize money for the season, placing second in prize money and second in FedEx Cup points.
It is the first time a Korean player has won the PGA Tour in five months since Lee Kyung-hoon (30, CJ Korea Express), who won AT&T Byron Nelson in May this year. With Seongjae Lim’s victory that day, Korean players have accumulated 20 victories on the PGA Tour since ‘Tank’ Kyung-ju Choi (51, SK Telecom) won the Compaq Classic in May 2002 for the first time. Im Seong-jae said, “After the first win, I thought a lot about when the second championship would come. However, I was patient and I continued to play calmly, and I am happy that I won when the opportunity came like this.” In particular, he said, “I won my first championship in the 50th competition, and this victory came in the 100th competition. When asked if he would win 3 wins in the 150th tournament, Im Seong-jae showed his enthusiasm, saying, “I hope the next win will be sooner.” Im Seong-jae, who will participate in The CJ Cup hosted by CJ, the sponsor, next week, expressed his determination, “I have achieved my goal of winning once in the fall season, and I want to continue this momentum at The CJ Cup next week.”
Im Seong-jae, who started the 4th round with a tie for 6th, 3 shots behind the lead until the 3rd round, wielded a blow from the beginning. Im Sung-jae, who took the lead in an instant with birdies on the 1st, 4th, and 6th holes, also recorded a birdie on the 7th hole (par 4) and competed fiercely with Wolf for the championship. As for the winner, Seongjae Lim seemed to be in the mood for the 9th to 13th holes, and he held a birdie show for 5 holes in a row. Wolf also responded with a birdie on the 9th hole (par 5) and caught up with Im Seong-jae by two strokes, but as soon as the 10th hole (par 4) bogey came out, the gap with Im Seong-jae widened by four strokes. Im Sung-jae, who has risen in momentum, made a five-shot gap with the second place with a birdie on five consecutive holes. Seongjae Lim, who set the record for the most birdies in a season on the PGA Tour by catching 498 birdies in the 2020-2021 season, also swept 26 birdies in this tournament, starting the race toward becoming the ‘buddy king’ for two consecutive seasons.
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