Im wins in first Web.com Tour start at Great Exuma Classic
January 16, 2018
By Royce Thompson, PGATOUR.COM
- Sungjae Im shot the low round of the day to win in his Web.com Tour debut at The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic. (Ryan Young/PGA TOUR)
GREAT EXUMA, Bahamas – Sungjae Im became the 16th player in Web.com Tour history to win in his first start as the Tour kicked off its 29th season at The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay. Im, 19, carded a final-round, bogey-free 7-under-par 65 to end the week 13-under-par. With a 72-hole total of 275, South Korea native won by four strokes over Carlos Ortiz, who birdied the 72nd hole to break out of a five-way tie for second place.
“I’m so happy,” said Im, who collected a first-place prize worth $108,000. “Everyone told me how tough was to win on the Web.com Tour. I never expected to win this quickly, but I’m so happy about this victory.”
Playing in the final group of the final round, Im quickly made his presence felt with four birdies on the front nine. He then added three more on holes 14, 15, and 16 to crush any doubt about who would win the second annual event.
“There was a lot of wind today, so I tried to hit punch shots,” said Im, who made only five bogeys all week. “At first, they were not working, but I stuck with it and finally started hitting them low which led to some birdie chances.”
Im etched his name in multiple pages of the Tour history book, including becoming the seventh South Korean-born player to win on Tour. He joins 2017 PLAYERS Champion Si Woo Kim, Kevin Na, James Hahn, Danny Lee, Seung-Yul Noh and D.H Lee, all of whom are competing on the PGA TOUR this season.
“They are all great players,” said Im, who is now the second-youngest Web.com Tour winner, behind only Jason Day. “I’m so happy to join them as a champion and hope to someday be on the PGA TOUR with them.”
This past fall, Im watched Justin Thomas win the inaugural CJ Cup at Nine Bridges in his hometown of Jeju. Having a PGA TOUR event in his backyard has added to his drive to reach the TOUR and compete in front of his countrymen.
“Jeju Island is my hometown,” he said. “When I was a kid, I played the CJ Nine Bridges Golf Club. I want to have a chance to play that event someday.”
Im is in position to get a chance this September when the TOUR returns to South Korea. He is in position to earn one of the 25 TOUR cards awarded during the Regular Season finale at the WinCo Foods Portland Open presented by Kraft-Heinz. Despite enjoying success so quickly, he remains focused on accomplishing his goal.
“This isn’t going to be my last chance,” he said. “I want to play better and plan on working hard to get to the PGA TOUR.”