AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — With all eyes on Tiger Woods, Sungjae Im quietly turned in the round of the day at Augusta Nationwide.
Not a surprise, genuinely.
The 24-yr-outdated South Korean feels right at home.
A runner-up 17 months ago in his Masters debut, Im posted a 5-under 67 Thursday to get the lead all to himself.
Nevertheless a prolonged way to go, but there is of course a little something about this program that suits Im’s recreation.
“I experience snug when I arrive to Augusta,” he said as a result of his translator. “I feel I can play perfectly right here each time.”
It have to operate in the spouse and children.
For the duration of the par 3 contest on Wednesday, Jitaek Im served as his son’s caddie. At the final hole, Sungjae let his dad consider the tee shot.
Jitaek shipped a wild swing, almost like he was hoping to slug a baseball, but the ball soared around the water and settled about about 5 ft from the flag.
“I did not assume a great deal,” Sungjae explained. “But once he hit the shot, it was the most beautiful shot I have found. It was like a specialist shot.”
Im strike a large amount of lovely shots when it definitely counted.
He got off to a blazing start, earning birdies at the to start with a few holes. An additional birdie at No. 7 despatched him to the again aspect at 4 less than.
Im stumbled a bit after the turn, making back again-to-again bogeys at 10 and 11, but then he shipped his greatest shot of the day at the par-5 No. 13. From 222 yards, he trapped it 12 toes from the flag and rolled in the putt for eagle.
An additional birdie at the 15th and a outstanding help you save from the bunker at the remaining gap — he almost holed out with his sand wedge and tapped it for par — gave him a just one-stroke lead more than Cameron Smith, with Dustin Johnson aspect of the team two shots back at 69.
If that appears familiar, it really should.
In 2020, Johnson received his very first eco-friendly jacket with a dominating general performance, though Smith and Im were five pictures again in the runner-up slot at the initially November Masters.
“There is a coincidence there,” Im explained. “It’s rather amazing to see that we’re all up there alongside one another.”
Im skipped the slice at the 2021 Masters with rounds of 77 and 80, and arrived at this year’s match having difficulties a bit with his recreation — specifically off the tee.
“I felt like my driving game was not as up to par as what it made use of to be, so I labored on my driving,” Im said. “The vital to a effective spherical was owning good tee pictures, so that labored well now.”
Certainly, he was one of the day’s most accurate drivers, hitting 12 of 14 fairways. Only five gamers ranked over him.
Im said it is important “to put the shot into places exactly where I have a opportunity to attack the environmentally friendly.”
A 12 months in the past, Hideki Matsuyama grew to become the first golfer from Japan to acquire the Masters.
Im does not want to get ahead of himself, but he appreciates that no South Korean golfer has at any time won at Augusta.
In fact, Y.E, Yang stays the only male golfer from Im’s country to capture a important title, memorably rallying to beat Woods at the 2009 PGA Championship.
Woods, who is enjoying for the to start with time considering that a February 2021 wreck left him with significant leg accidents, was four photographs powering Im following shooting 71.
Wood’s comeback is what most patrons will keep in mind from Working day 1 of the Masters.
Perhaps by Sunday night, they’ll be targeted on Im.
“We’re only a person day in,” he stated. “I’ve received 3 a lot more times to engage in. I just want to preserve this momentum heading and consider to complete effectively this 7 days.”
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