Sungjae Im’s golf career is defined by consistency, but the soft-spoken South Korean is also a birdie machine. He upped the ante at The Sentry.
Im set a record for most birdies in a 72-hole PGA TOUR event on record, making 34 birdies across four rounds at the Plantation Course at Kapalua. The 25-year-old set the record with a two-putt birdie from 39 feet on the par-5 15th hole in Sunday’s final round, his 33rd circle on the scorecard this week. He added his 34th birdie with a 6-footer on the par-5 18th hole.
The previous record was 32 birdies, achieved three times on TOUR, most recently by Jon Rahm at The Sentry last year. Paul Gow (2001 B.C. Open) and Mark Calcavecchia (2001 WM Phoenix Open) also shared the record until this week.
Twelve players have carded 31 birdies in a 72-hole TOUR event, most recently Justin Suh at the World Wide Technology Championship.
Im carded rounds of 65-66-73-63 at Kapalua (par 73), likely finishing a few strokes off the winning pace despite his record accomplishment. He made nine birdies in the opening round, eight birdies in the second round and six birdies in the third round. He completed his record effort with 11 birdies in the final round, which began with a 32-foot birdie on No. 1. That was a precursor of things to come; he added birdies on 2, 3, 7, 9 and 10, then added four straight circles on Nos. 12-15 in his run to the record. (The PGA TOUR began keeping such statistics in 1983.)
Im led the TOUR with 480 birdies as a rookie in 2019, which was 83 birdies ahead of No. 2 Adam Schenk. Im again led the stat for the next two seasons, a testament to his precise game and a propensity to rarely take weeks off. His 498 birdies in 2021 set the TOUR record for most birdies in a season breaking the previous record of 493 set by Steve Felsch in 2000. In each of his five TOUR seasons, he has finished no worse than No. 35 in birdie average.
Im is a two-time TOUR winner and has represented the International Team in the past two Presidents Cups; he’s a prime candidate to make a third appearance this fall at Royal Montreal. A birdie maker is never a bad option for a team roster, after all – particularly one who can do so at a record clip.
Im finished No. 24 on last year’s FedExCup; his season included 19 top-25s in 31 starts. He is 5-for-5 in TOUR Championship appearances as a TOUR member, after earning his card via the 2018 Korn Ferry Tour, on which he won twice and was named Player of the Year.
Consistency has long been Im’s most recognizable trait in professional golf, but his firepower is dually impressive. This record shows it.