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Born: 30 March 1998
Birthplace: Cheongju, South Korea
College: Korea National Sport University
Resides: Jeju, South Korea
Major Wins: 0
Euro or PGA Tour Wins: 1
Other wins: 3
Grass Preference: Unknown
Significant Life Events: No
GBC Wind Performance Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
GBC Pressure Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Sungjae was the 2019 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year, recording 8 top-10 finishes in 35 starts in the 2019 calendar year. Sungjae followed that up with his breakthrough win on the PGA Tour in 2020 at The Honda Classic and ended his 2020 season in fine style with a 2nd place finish at The Masters.
Prior to that, Sungjae sailed through the Korn Ferry Tour in 2018, winning on his first start and becoming the second youngest ever winner on the Korn Ferry Tour (Jason Day is the youngest ever winner). At the tender age of 22, Sungjae has passed every test with flying colours and will be one to watch in future at Major Championships.
Sungjae is keen to try and qualify for the Olympics in 2021 as an Olympic medal would exempt him from the compulsory military service all South Korean men must undertake.
SG: OFF THE TEE
SG: AROUND THE GREEN
Pressure Performance Analysis
Trailed Dustin Johnson by four shots entering the final round of The Masters. Wasn't able to overturn the deficit but did well to finish second.
Won his first PGA TOUR title in his 50th career start, shooting a final-round 66 to win The Honda Classic by one stroke. Began final round 3 shots behind Tommy Fleetwood. At age 21 years, 337 days, became the second player aged 21 or younger to win on the season. Got up-and-down from a greenside bunker at the 72nd hole to make par.
Earned his first KPGA Tour title at the Genesis Championship, winning by two shots at 6-under 282. Started the final round seven shots behind the 54-hole leader on route to victory. Among the 68 players that made the cut, was one of eight players to card an under-par score on Sunday.
Fell to Sebastian Munoz in a playoff at the Sanderson Farms Championship, earning the first top-two finish of his career. Birdied three of the last five holes in the final round to finish at 18-under 270. Started the round 4 shots behind Munoz.
Sungjae has won from off the pace (twice) and from holding the 54 hole lead (twice) so he is equally adept at front running or chasing. He's definitely one to watch coming down the stretch as there are multiple examples of him posting a run of birdies to close out tournaments. Sungjae's Golf Betting Club Pressure Performance Rating is set at 5 stars for the 2020 season.
Sungjae rarely takes a week off so he's used to playing every week. He can stay hot after a win as he has followed two of his four wins with near misses (2nd and 3rd place finishes).
Time Of The Year
Sungjae generally comes out hot after the break for Christmas and New Year. His finishing positions in the last four years for his first event of the season are 18-1-16-21 (oldest first). His second event of the season record is even better, displaying finishes of 3-2-12-10 (oldest first). Given Sungjae's dedication to golf and his proven track record after long breaks, he'll be one to watch at the start of every year.
Avoid When Playing Here
Sungjae has a less than impressive record at Muirfield Village, home of The Memorial (and also the Workday Charity Open in 2020). In three appearances at events played here, he's yet to better 57th.
Major and WGC Analysis
Sungjae has only played in a handful of Majors to date but he does have a second place finish at The Masters (2020). Given it was his debut, he can be supported at Augusta in future years.
Now he has his first win on the PGA Tour, Sungjae should feel more comfortable competing in Majors and it's likely his record will improve in the coming years.
He's missed his last two cuts at the US PGA but he did post a top 25 at the US Open in 2020.
Given his lack of links experience he'll probably be most at home competing in the American Majors initially.
Best finish of 11th at HSBC Champions in 2019.
Sungjae lost out to Sebastian Munoz at the Sandersons Farm Championship in 2019 after making a bogey at the first extra playoff hole (incidentally, Im was unlucky not to win this event in normal time as he hit a low of 1.07 on Betfair after birdieng the 14th, 15th and 16th holes in the final round and Munoz needed a birdie at the 72nd hole to make a playoff).
2020 Honda Classic
Q. As a guy who plays almost every week, will you take a week off, and B, how difficult has that been for you to play every week?
SUNGJAE IM: I plan on playing almost every week, maybe take an event off during the Texas swing, but nothing confirmed. But as of right now, just the one in mind, and planning to play them all.
Q. Sungjae, you've made a lot of starts. You came really close at the Sanderson Farms back in the fall. How did you draw upon that experience coming into this stretch, and also is it kind of a relief to get that first win?
SUNGJAE IM: I was a little disappointed the way the Sanderson Farms ended. Very similar spot to what I was in today. Finished with a one-shot lead and had to wait on the guys coming in, and so drawing upon that experience I felt like it made me hungrier for today to go out and get that win, and just having come so close, it's just very happy everything worked out the way it did and I'm just happy to get the win.