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Im Sung-jae becomes lone S. Korean to qualify for PGA Tour season finale

All News 09:11 August 30, 2021

By Yoo Jee-ho

SEOUL, Aug. 30 (Yonhap) -- For the third straight year, Im Sung-jae will be the only South Korean to play at the exclusive-field season finale on the PGA Tour.

Im finished alone in third place at the BMW Championship, the second leg of the annual FedEx playoffs, at Caves Valley Golf Club in Owings Mills, Maryland, on Sunday (local time). Im shot a five-under 67 in the final round and posted 23-under 265 over four rounds, finishing four strokes out of the playoff between Patrick Cantlay and Bryson DeChambeau.

Im was in third place heading into the final round, and after picking up six birdies against one bogey, that's where he finished. Cantlay beat DeChambeau with a birdie on the sixth playoff hole.

In this Getty Images photo, Im Sung-jae of South Korea hits a tee shot from the second hole during the final round of the BMW Championship at Caves Valley Golf Club in Owings Mills, Maryland, on Aug. 29, 2021. (Yonhap)

With his second top-five performance of the season, Im jumped from 25th to 12th in the FedEx Cup standings. Only the top 30 players will get to compete at the season-ending Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, beginning Thursday.

Im was also the lone South Korean at each of the past two Tour Championships. In 2019, Im was the only rookie in the field and tied for 19th. The following year, Im finished in 11th place.

Im is the first South Korean golfer to play at three consecutive Tour Championships. Only Choi Kyoung-ju, who played at 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2011 events, has made more appearances.

Im was one of three South Koreans to make the playoffs this year, joined by Kim Si-woo and Lee Kyoung-hoon. All three had finished the regular season inside the top 125 in the FedEx Cup standings.

In this Getty Images photo, Im Sung-jae of South Korea reacts to his birdie at the first hole during the final round of the BMW Championship at Caves Valley Golf Club in Owings Mills, Maryland, on Aug. 29, 2021. (Yonhap)

At the first playoff tournament, the Northern Trust, Im tied for 16th, climbing from 31st to 25th in the FedEx Cup points. Kim missed the cut to fall from 30th to 32nd, while Lee, who tied for 47th at the tournament, slipped from 34th to 37th in the FedEx Cup standings.

The BMW Championship was only open to the top 70 players in FedEx Cup points after the Northern Trust. And Im was once again the top South Korean performer. Lee tied for 12th at 17-under, and ended up in 31st place in the FedEx Cup standings. Kim joined four others in 29th at 12-under at the BMW Championship, and finished in 34th place in the FedEx Cup points.

At the Tour Championship, Cantlay, the current FedEx Cup points leader, will start at 10-under par. Tony Finau, who is second, will begin at eight-under par, and so forth.

Players ranked 11th through 15th in the FedEx Cup standing, including Im, will start the Tour Championship at three-under par.

The winner will take home a cool US$15 million in bonus money.

In this USA Today Sports photo via Reuters, Im Sung-jae of South Korea hits a tee shot from the fifth hole during the final round of the BMW Championship at Caves Valley Golf Club in Owings Mills, Maryland, on Aug. 29, 2021. (Yonhap)

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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