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Sungjae Im is a modern-day Iron Byron with the game to contend at Augusta National once again

Talk about unhealthy timing.

In his Masters debut final November, Sungjae Im posted rounds of 66-70-68-69 to end at 15 underneath – a rating that may have received 80 of the 84 Masters performed. Unfortunately, Im bumped into Dustin Johnson and misplaced by 5.

Im, nevertheless, was removed from upset. It was the finest outcome by a rookie since Jordan Spieth completed second in 2014. And he had fulfilled a boyhood dream of enjoying in the Masters, one which took maintain as he watched the event rising up in South Korea.

“To pick one vivid memory out of all of them that happened that week, it would be playing in the final group in the final round with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson,” Im mentioned. “I started the week just wanting to make the cut. Then I had a chance to win. But Dustin Johnson is a great player. I learned a lot in the final round.

“That round, the whole week, too, it was self-confidence for me. It was a learning experience for me and I learned I could perform at a major level.”

There needs to be many extra remaining rounds at Augusta National in Im’s future.

After turning professional at age 17, he was the Korn Ferry Tour Player of the Year in 2018, earned Rookie of the Year honors on the PGA Tour in 2019, then received his first (and up to now solely) PGA Tour title in the Honda Classic in 2020.

Just 23, he’s change into well-known in the skilled ranks for 2 causes.

The first is his sturdiness – he performs extra golf than anybody. He performed a PGA Tour-high 61 occasions in 2019 and 2020 and meant to play 11 occasions in 2021 earlier than driving down Magnolia Lane.

The second is his nickname – Iron Byron, which is the title of the U.S. Golf Association’s mechanical golf ball tester that honors Byron Nelson, the godfather of the fashionable swing.

The story goes that on the Monday of the 2019 Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne in Australia, it was so windy that Im was the solely participant on the International squad to play that day.

“I certainly didn’t even think about touching any of the holes because I didn’t want to destroy my confidence,” 2013 Masters champion Adam Scott mentioned. “So we ended up walking out and watching (Im) play a few holes. Even in a 25-miles-an-hour wind, he was just fairway, green, fairway, green, and like Iron Byron, like watching a machine.”

Many of his friends predict he might be often called a main champion, too.

But if Im is to change into a main winner in his second begin in the Masters, he’ll have to relearn the course he simply performed 5 months in the past.

“I have the course visually in my mind,” he mentioned. “My impression of Augusta National was that the fairways and greens were much softer than what I saw watching TV when I was a kid. And I’ve never played the Masters in April so it will be a different challenge. I will have to learn how to play the course again if it’s fast and firm. But it will be a good challenge.”


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