PALM BEACH GARDENS, Florida – Moments after his first win on the PGA Tour, Sungjae Im took a moment to think about what it means.
Not for yourself – for your homeland and for those who deal with a virus that has the marginal world.
The 21-year-old South Korean started quickly and ended stronger on Sunday. He won the Honda Classic with one shot against Mackenzie Hughes and two against Tommy Fleetwood for his first win in 50 touring attempts. But before he could be brought back to the course to collect the trophy, I made sure I talked about the corona virus and told those in South Korea – where nearly 4,000 cases were confirmed – that he was thinking about it.
"I am in Korea right now and I know that a lot of people have to do with the corona virus," I said. "And it's a big deal with everyone. But as a Korean player, I'm just glad that I can bring good news to compatriots at home … to do something for the country and to make everyone proud."
I shot a 4-under-66 on Sunday and ended up with 6 below to get the second highest score since the Honda switched to PGA National in 2007. He was the rookie of the Tour of the Year last season and has played more tournaments and rounds than anyone else since the 2018-19 season started almost a year and a half ago.
And now he's a winner who raised $ 1.26 million this week and has become the 10th international Honda champion in the past 16 seasons.
I bird-observed four of his first five holes and then bird-observed two of the last four holes – after both teeing off the hard par-3 holes 15 and 17 within 8 feet – to finish the win.
Hughes, a Canadian who made the cut on Friday, shot his second 66th in a row. He played alongside Im, was part of a serious fireworks display on the last two holes, and missed a birdie putt at the Par-5 target hole that would have drawn him to a top spot draw.
"I love being in the mix," said Hughes. “I love having a chance to win, and yes, it's a shame to play a short to fight so hard all day. I just thought I would. But still proud of the way I fought this week. "
Fleetwood (71) was alone in third place and is still aiming for his first PGA Tour victory. He started the first day shooting from the field and started birdie-birdie to get 7 at that point, which was the low value relative to the par of the week.
Then PGA National did what it normally does and didn't let anyone run away from the pack.
Fleetwood made Bogey on par-4 place 6 and could not go up and down on a par-4 place 8 at the green and returned what was left of his lead at that time. Fleetwood fucked the 17th par-3 to get inside one, but his approach to the par-5 target hole found the water for everyone except to seal his fate.
"I was fine," said Fleetwood. "My swing was not there today. It was not a pleasant day … things weren't quite there, but I did well."
After Fleetwood's attempt to pull out a miracle hole after falling from 120 meters to 18 did not fail, I was finally able to exhale as the winner. He hugged his caddy in the locker room, watching the last 20 minutes on a monitor.
“I have been to this place many times. … I just felt that the experience really helped, ”I said through a translator.
Some of Im's best moments came when no one was looking.
He was third at the Zozo Championship in Japan last October, a target overshadowed by Tiger Woods, who linked the PGA Tour record of 82 career victories. And in November, he went 3-1 to 1 to get the best performance by an international team player at the Presidents Cup, but the US team, led by Woods, rallied for the trophy on the last day in singles to win at Royal Melbourne.
But this time he was the focus and took the moment.
Hughes and Im went to the 17th par-3 green at wildly different places – the end of the three-hole course "Bärenfalle". I put his tee at just under 8 feet while Hughes had almost 55 feet left over the hole.
Hughes rolled into a mighty roar in his most unlikely birdie and underdid 5 by 5.
If I was concerned, it was not reported.
I glanced at his downhill line, took his putter back just a few inches, and watched the ball roll after a birdie that allowed him to regain his lead at 6 under – which he hoped created a little relief at home.
"At the moment I can only pray for the best and hope that not many people are affected," I said. "Hopefully this virus can calm down and sort itself out very soon."
DIVOTS: Honda will remain the namesake of the tournament for the 40th time in a row in 2021, thus extending the longest current run of title sponsorship on tour. … Grayson Murray, who was in his first three rounds with an ace on Saturday on 17th par 4 under 4, put his tee there in the water on Sunday and made a double bogey. … For the third time in a row, no player had four laps on the par-70 course in the 1960s.
More information on the new type of corona virus can be found here.
EDITORS & # 39; PICK
Don't miss the latest news and information.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to access The Philippine Daily Inquirer and others over 70 titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to news, download at 4am and share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.