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One reason Sungjae Im finds himself in third place in the FedExCup standings is because of his improved short game.
Through the first 13 events (eight starts) this season, the Korean star ranks second in Strokes Gained: Around the Greens with an average of 0.746 strokes on the field per round. That’s with 27 measured rounds. The category leader is Jim Knous with a 1.069 average through nine measured rounds.
A year ago, Im ranked a dismal 142nd in that category, with a minus-0.079 average per round. The year before that, he ranked 92nd in the category at 92nd at 0.007 – essentially matching the Tour average.
In winning the Shriners Childrens Open last October, Im credited his wedge play during a tournament that turned into a birdiefest, as he won at 24 under. The other parts of Im’s game have always been either spectacular or solid; it was the short game that was his statistical weakness. Evidently he’s fixed that.
With the Florida Swing coming up in a few weeks, don’t be surprised if Im makes a push to overtake Hideki Matsuyama atop the standings. Im generally plays well in the Sunshine State – his other Tour win came at The Honda Classic in 2020, and last year he had three top-25 finishes in Florida.
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Elliott Heath is our Senior Staff Writer and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016. He graduated in Sports Journalism in 2016 and currently manages the Golf Monthly news, courses and travel sections as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. Elliott has interviewed some huge names in the golf world including Sergio Garcia, Thomas Bjorn, Bernd Wiesberger and Scotty Cameron as well as a number of professionals on the DP World and PGA Tours. He has also covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as three Open Championships including at Carnoustie in 2018 when he was inside the ropes with Tiger Woods. He has played 31 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Old Head and Alwoodley. He currently plays at West Byfleet Golf Club in Surrey, where his handicap index floats anywhere between 4-6. His golfing highlight is making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, and he has made one hole-in-one.
Elliott is currently playing:
Driver: Honma TR20
3 wood: TaylorMade SIM2 Max
2 iron: Mizuno MP-18 MMC Fli-Hi
Irons: Mizuno MP5 4-PW
Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58
Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
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