Sungjae Im enters the weekend rounds at the Arnold Palmer Invitational

According to a press release by EuroSport + PGA tour, Korean star Sungjae Im will sail into the weekend rounds in the Arnold Palmer Invitational inside the top 10 on the table, for the third successive year. Im finished in the top 3 in his first 2 outings at Bay Hill Club & Lodge and will hope to win the glorious PGA TOUR tournament.

Ranking 17th in the world, Im posted a second round 2-under 70 on Friday and sits at 5-under 139 and tied seventh place through 36 holes. He is behind leader Corey Conners by four, whereas Martin Laird is in solo second at 8-under. Viktor Hovland, Rory McIlroy and Lanto Griffin are a further stroke back in share of third place.

Thailand’s Jazz Janewattananond posted the day’s low score with a brilliant 65, that was a 10 shot better from his opening round. The former Asian No.1 made best use of his local course knowledge as he is a member of Bay Hill after staying with Daniel Chopra, the two-time PGA TOUR winner, for around four months during the COVID-19 pandemic last year. Tied 11th place, five off the lead, he will cruise into the third round.

In a quest for a second TOUR win, Im made the turn at even par — a 22-foot birdie putt at the par-3 second was offset with a bogey at the par-5 sixth— before moving into red numbers with a birdie at the 10th. Though a double bogey at the 13th moved him to 1-over for the day, the 22-year-old swiftly rallied at the ensuing par-3, pouring in a 30-foot birdie putt to get back to even-par. He concluded his day on a positive note at the par-5 16th, which he eagled after hitting his 190-yard approach shot inside 10 feet.

“I hit my driver well and found a lot of fairways. It helped me with my second shots. The rough is difficult here, so keeping the ball on the fairway is key. I have made some good scores over the past two days due to my driving,” said Im, who missed only one fairway during his second round.

Byeong Hun An, his fellow countrymen who tied for fourth after 18 holes, is placed at T21 on 2-under 142 after a shaky Friday en route to a 2-over 74.

Thai stand out Jazz was happy to bounce back to life in the morning wave. The 25-year-old burst out of the gate with five birdies on the back nine, starting with the par-4 11th hole, where he rolled in a 15-foot putt . He added three more birdies on Nos. 14 through 16, pouring the first one in from 33 feet, before adding one last birdie at the 18th before making the turn.

Dropping back to 4-under with a bogey at the par-3 second, Jazz however closed with three birdies over his final five holes. He connected on lengthy putts from 17 and 16 feet at Nos. 5 and 6, respectively, before tallying his eighth and final birdie of the day at the last, when he stuck his approach shot inside 10 feet.

“Yesterday, none of the putts dropped but I guess I kept it all for today,” said Jazz.

“Everything I seemed to do was better, like I hit my irons a little better and putt a little better which added to a good round. Last year, I was here for like three to four months. I’m a member here which helps as it’s like home course advantage. I’ve played on this course more than any other place in my life. Usually when I’m home I don’t really play that much.

“After THE PLAYERS Championship got cancelled (last year), I literally didn’t have anywhere to go because Thailand was shut. I was in Jacksonville and I called Daniel and said ‘hey can I stay here for a few days’ and I ended up staying with his family for three to four months. He caddied for me a couple of times on TOUR too.”

golfer Sungjae Im enters the weekend rounds at the Arnold Palmer Invitational

Jazz, by cruising into the weekend at Bay Hill, has now made the cut in three of four starts during the 2020-21 PGA TOUR edition. He tied for 60th at the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP @ SHERWOOD and tied for 51st at The Masters Tournament. His finest finish on TOUR is a tie for 14th, which he achieved twice in 2019 the PGA Championship and World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions.

Hideki Matsuyama of Japan shot a second-round 70 to make the halfway cut with one stroke to spare but C.T. Pan (74), Sung Kang (77), Anirban Lahiri (78) and K.H. Lee (78) all missed the cut. Si Woo Kim withdrew following Thursday’s opening round. 


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