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S. Korean golfer Im Sung-jae sees patience as virtue at U.S. Open

All News 15:01 June 14, 2022

By Yoo Jee-ho

SEOUL, June 14 (Yonhap) -- Though he has never played at the course that will host the U.S. Open this week, South Korean golfer Im Sung-jae knows the typically punishing setup for the American national championship all too well, highlighted by narrow fairways, deep rough, and fast and undulating greens.

Im, the highest-ranked South Korean at No. 21, said he will have to play within himself in such settings at The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts, for the third major tournament of the year.

In this Getty Images file photo from June 4, 2022, Im Sung-jae of South Korea tees off on the second hole during the third round of the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio. (Yonhap)

In this Getty Images file photo from June 4, 2022, Im Sung-jae of South Korea tees off on the second hole during the third round of the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio. (Yonhap)

"I've never experienced The Country Club before, but the U.S. Open has been traditionally held at long courses with thick rough and difficult greens," Im said in an interview conducted with the PGA Tour on Monday (local time). "I have to come up with a solid plan to attack the course and make sure I don't get too aggressive with shots."

This will be Im's fourth career U.S. Open appearance. He has yet to crack the top 20, and he said patience will come in handy.

"At U.S. Opens, you can find yourself high up on the leaderboard without shooting a really low score," Im said. "This year's tournament will come down to who can maintain their composure and play with patience."

Im tied for eighth at the season's first major, the Masters, in April. Im missed the next major, the PGA Championship, in May after testing positive for COVID-19 while in South Korea for a domestic tour event.

In this Getty Images file photo from June 4, 2022, Im Sung-jae of South Korea tees off on the fifth hole during the third round of the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio. (Yonhap)

In this Getty Images file photo from June 4, 2022, Im Sung-jae of South Korea tees off on the fifth hole during the third round of the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio. (Yonhap)

"I had to watch the PGA Championship on TV, and I've been really itching to come to the U.S. Open," Im said. "I was worried about my form after returning (from the virus) but I have been playing better than I'd thought I would."

In two tournaments since his comeback, Im tied for 15th at the Charles Schwab Challenge and tied for 10th at the Memorial Tournament.

"I played great from tee to green (at those two events)," Im said. "I didn't putt as well as I wanted to, but overall, I was satisfied with my performance."

Im, who tied for second at the 2020 Masters, is still searching for his first major crown.

"There are only four of these majors each year, and that makes me want to win one that much more," Im said. "The field is always strong, with unbelievable players on hand, and I think I will get into contention at some point."

Im will play the first two rounds with Mito Pereira of Chile and Erik van Rooyen of South Africa.

Other South Koreans in the field this week are: Kim Si-woo, Kim Joo-hyung and Lee Kyoung-hoon.

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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