Solid start for Sungjae Im at Sanderson Farms Championship: Can he land a second PGA Tour title?

The Korean posted a first round of 67 at the Country Club of Jackson as he made his 2021/22 seasonal bow.

Sungjae Im is still only 23-years-old but he's been around a long time.

In fact he made his first appearance in a professional event, at the Maeil Dairies Open on the Korean Tour, as a 16-year-old and he was in the top three after 36 and 54 holes.

He turned professional at the end of the following year and initially plied his trade on home soil and in Japan.

He banged on plenty of doors in that time, but the win didn't come until his first start on the Korn Ferry Tour in 2018.

By the end of that year he had graduated to the big time and he took to the PGA Tour in style, eventually bagging Rookie of the Year honours in 2018/19.

The following year he added a first win, at the Honda Classic, and became something of a cult hero for his ferocious work ethic: he famously didn't buy a property, instead happily settled for a hotel near more or less every single tour stop.

The second win has proved difficult to find, but this week looks like a great opportunity after he posted a first round of 5-under-par 67 to open the Sanderson Farms Championship at the Country Club of Jackson.

He sits tied seventh on the leaderboard, three blows behind the pace-setter Sahith Theegala.

His current price is

Is that worth supporting? Let's take a look.


Im didn't perform particularly well in the Tour Championship (23rd lowest scorer), but before then played nine weekends in a row including tied third at the BMW Championship.

And here's an oddity. How would you compare that result with the T24th at Sedgefield in the Wyndham Championship two weeks earlier?

And how would you do so knowing that he finished four strokes behind the leader both times?!?!

Course form

He missed the cut on debut, then tied the 72-hole low-score in 2019 before losing a play-off to Sebastian Munoz, and was T28th last year.

He has finished top 10 for Putting Average (a key stat at the course) and also top 10 for Strokes Gained Off the Tee and Tee to Green (also both key stats for good performances).

His first round

Heading into this week his form hinted at a good week. He had ranked top 13 for SG Off the Tee in six of his last eight starts, top six for SG Tee to Green in three of his last four starts, and third for Putting Average in his penultimate appearance.

But his first round score and position might be deceptive.

He made six birdies and one bogey for his 67, but the stats were all wrong for this test.

If he is to win this week he needs to turn his performance in those key stats around: he ranks 61st Off the Tee, 12th Tee to Green and 36th for Putting Average.

Donald Ross form

A few years ago the course superintendent at Jackson suggested that the course had a real hint of a Donald Ross design about it.

That would imply a traditional test, one which calls for smart, rather than aggressive, golf from the tee box, firing at pins with approaches, but being wary of the wrong side of the pin, and then holing a lot of putts.

It's golf we're used to seeing at Sedgefield in the Wyndham Championship and also, in more recent years, at Detroit in the Rocket Mortgage Classic.

That's good news for Im who plays them both exceptionally well.

At Sedgefield he's finished sixth, ninth and T24th. At Detroit T21st, T53rd and eighth.

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