A sizzling begin and pristine driving recreation has propelled South Korea’s Sungjae Im into the first-round lead on the Masters as he continues his bid for a maiden main title.
The 24-year-old carded a five-under-par 67 by a mixture of 5 birdies – together with three in a row to start out the spherical – two bogeys and an eagle on the par-five 13.
He completed the day with a one-stroke lead over Australian Cameron Smith.
Im, who made a splash in his Masters debut in 2020 when he tied for second with Smith behind Dustin Johnson, instructed reporters he was centered on protecting Thursday’s momentum going.
“It was nice to have an ideal end at my Masters debut, and due to that have I really feel comfy after I come to Augusta. I really feel like I can play properly right here each time,” mentioned Im, who recorded his second PGA Tour win on the Shriners Youngsters’s Open in October.
“My preparation stays the identical for every match, however I felt like my driving recreation was not as as much as par as what it was once, so I labored on my driving, and immediately the important thing to a profitable spherical was having good tee pictures.”
Heading into the again 9 at four-under par, Im struggled briefly with a pair of bogeys on 10 and 11.
He recovered to launch a superbly positioned 238-metre drive to the center of the golf green on 13, sending the second shot onto the inexperienced 3.7m from the pin earlier than draining the eagle putt.
“The important thing to the great spherical immediately was simply getting off to a sizzling begin,” Im mentioned.
“I birdied the primary three holes, and that is what received me on to a superb rhythm.”
Johnson, world No.1 Scottie Scheffler, former champion Danny Willett and Joaquin Niemann all share third behind Im and Smith after carding three-under 69s.