Honda Classic Recap: Im Secures First PGA Victory
Honda Classic Recap: Im Secures First PGA Victory

This article is part of our Weekly Recap series.

Before most golf fans had heard of Viktor Hovland or Collin Morikawa or Matthew Wolff, or even Joaquin Niemann, there was Sungjae Im.

All four 20-somethings won PGA Tour events before Im, but all along, he was better than they. He just didn't have their pedigree – and a win.

Im did not gain fame playing in college or as a top-ranked amateur; born on tiny Jeju Island in South Korea, he turned pro at 17 – SEVENTEEN! – and headed to the Japan Tour. He arrived in the United States two years ago and promptly won his first event on the Korn Ferry Tour. Before turning 20, Im was ranked in the top-100 OWGR.

Now, at 21, Im can call himself a PGA Tour champion. He had the best game and the steadiest nerves on Sunday at treacherous PGA National, shooting a 4-under 66 to capture the Honda Classic by one stroke over Canadian Mackenzie Hughes. England's Tommy Fleetwood, a top-10 player but still seeking his first PGA Tour victory, did not handle the pressure nearly as well as Im, or Hughes, for that matter, and wound up third.

It's seems unfathomable to say that a 21-year-old's win was long overdue, but Im showed his brilliance from his very first event as a PGA Tour member, tying for fourth at the 2018 Safeway Open. Since then, he has piled up high finish after high finish while winning Rookie of the Year, climbing the world

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Len Hochberg
Hochberg covers golf for RotoWire. A veteran sports journalist, he contributes to Sports on Earth and was an editor and reporter at The Washington Post for many years.
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