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13D AGO

Sungjae Im takes wild ride to stay in hunt at Wells Fargo Championship

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    Written by Sean Martin @PGATOURSMartin

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Xander Schauffele and Rory McIlroy have separated themselves from the pack at the Wells Fargo Championship. Schauffele is 12-under par and one ahead of McIlroy entering the final round at Quail Hollow.

    Sungjae Im is in third place but also four shots off the pace. He needed a wild finish to his third round just to keep his hopes alive.

    "The course set-up was really difficult today," said Im following his round. "Especially the greens were not very receptive and it was very difficult to calculate the distance on the second shot, but I think I managed to control it well and didn't take too many risks, especially in the back nine, when the wind picked up and made it a bit more difficult. I struggled on 16, 17 and 18, but I made a really big save on 18, so I think I can keep this good momentum playing well tomorrow."

    Players are always happy to walk off Quail Hollow’s 17th and 18th holes with a pair of pars, but that was especially true for Im on Saturday.

    Im recovered from an awful break on No. 17 to make par, then had to hole out from a bunker to make another one at the last.

    Quail Hollow’s 191-yard 17th hole is hard enough, yielding only five birdies Saturday, but Im looked like he could be headed for another one when his tee shot was in the air. His ball was headed right at the hole, but it slammed into the flagstick and bounded into the rough, 50 feet from the hole. Im chipped to 10 feet and then made the putt to keep a bad break from getting any worse.

    "I thought the ball was going to go well toward the pin, it wasn't going to stick, but it was going to be a little bit big or close, but when I hit the pin with carry, the ball bounced to the right and it was a very difficult lie for a chip shot, but I made a good save on that one, so I'm glad I did."


    Sungjae Im gets up-and-down from bunker for birdie at Wells Fargo


    Im drove into the right trees on the final hole but was able to make another unlikely par. After punching out from the trees, Im missed the green with his 136-yard third shot on the long par-4. He holed out from a greenside bunker, however, to make a hard-earned 4 on the day’s hardest hole.

    Sean Martin is a senior editor for the PGA TOUR. He is a 2004 graduate of Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo. Attending a small school gave him a heart for the underdog, which is why he enjoys telling stories of golf's lesser-known players. Follow Sean Martin on Twitter.

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