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 News Editor and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016 after graduating with a degree in Sports Journalism. He manages the Golf Monthly news, features, courses and travel sections as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. He covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as four Open Championships on-site including the 150th at St Andrews. His first Open was in 2017 at Royal Birkdale, when he walked inside the ropes with Jordan Spieth during the Texan's memorable Claret Jug triumph. He has played 35 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Western Gailes, Old Head and Turnberry. He has been obsessed with the sport since the age of 8 and currently plays at West Byfleet Golf Club in Surrey, where his handicap index floats anywhere between 2-5. His golfing highlights are making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, shooting an under-par round, playing in the Aramco Team Series on the Ladies European Tour and making his one and only hole-in-one at the age of 15 - a long time ago now!
Elliott is currently playing:
Driver: Titleist TSR4
3 wood: Titleist TSi2 HL
Irons: Mizuno MP-H4 3-iron, Mizuno MP5 4-PW
Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58
Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5
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