Korean hotshot Sungjae Im targets greater success in 2021 from his new Atlanta base

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Korean star Sungjae Im steps into the New Year with some very clear goals in mind and his heart contented now that he has a place to call home in the United States.

Since bursting onto the PGA Tour following a successful Korn Ferry Tour campaign in 2018 where he secured two wins, Im’s career has skyrocketed and led to a breakthrough 2020 where he won The Honda Classic for his first PGA Tour title in March. The talented 22-year-old further stamped his mark with an outstanding runner-up finish in his first Masters Tournament appearance in November.

“I’m mostly trying to keep the flow of my game from the start of the PGA Tour from two years ago,” said Im, who was the Rookie of the Year in 2019 when he also contributed 3.5 points for the International Team in the Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne.

“I want to win several more tournaments this year. 2020 was good as I got my first win, and I finished second in the Masters. It was definitely a year for me. It’s very memorable,” he added.

Much of Im’s winter break was spent on settling down in his new home in Atlanta, which he picked the location due to the variety of Korean restaurants within the vicinity, practice facilities at TPC Sugarloaf and connectivity from the Atlanta airport, which includes a direct flight home to Korea. Over the past three years, Im made a name for himself as a golfing nomad, having travelled from hotel to hotel with his suitcases and parents in tow.

“Since we moved to Atlanta, I spent my off season in the States. I stayed at home during Christmas since it was best to do so due to Covid-19. I also used the time to work on many areas to improve my game,” Im said.

Im’s meteoric rise has earned the admiration of his peers and the sheer consistency in producing top golf every week – he has recorded 15 top-10s and 30 top-25s from 71 starts to date – has no doubt cemented his stature on the PGA Tour. He makes his 2020 debut at this week’s Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii, which features an elite 42-man field comprising of tournament winners and the top-30 finishers from last season’s FedExCup final points standings.

“As it’s the first time in this event, I’m very excited to play this week. Since only winners (and the top-30) get to play here, I’m going to have to play my best and aim for a high finish.,” said Im.

Im’s quest for glory at the Plantation Course at Kapalua in Maui sees him taking on the likes of reigning FedExCup champion Dustin Johnson and defending champion Justin Thomas. Japanese star Hideki Matsuyama is the other Asian golfer in the field.

Im feels confident he can produce a good week. “If there is a lot of wind, it will give me a hard time. The course is not too long so if there are no winds, I think I can finish well,” he said.

He will remain in Hawaii for next week’s Sony Open before featuring in the West Coast swing, beginning with The American Express in California. Once he is ready to take a break, Im can certainly look forward to returning to his new home base in Atlanta.

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