Korea’s rising star Sungjae Im will be gunning for a strong debut in the World Golf Championships-FedEx St. Jude Invitational starting on Thursday to reignite his form in time for next month’s lucrative FedExCup Playoffs.
The 23-year-old standout was amongst the hottest golfers on the planet prior to the temporary suspension of the PGA TOUR in March due to the Covid-19 pandemic but since the Return to Golf last month, Im’s rock-solid game has been off the mark.
Aside from a tie for 10th finish at the Charles Schwab Challenge last month, the Korean, who won The Honda Classic and finished third in the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard in March, has missed two cuts and finished at the wrong end of leader boards in three other starts.
Im’s lull in form somewhat mirrors a lean spell being experienced by Asia’s brightest stars on the PGA TOUR. In seven tournaments since the restart, there have been surprisingly only one other notable finish by China’s Xinjun Zhang, who came in equal 10th at the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide two weeks ago.
Countryman Byeong Hun An and Sung Kang will also line-up at TPC Southwind as they seek to rediscover their best form.
With no halfway cut at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational, Chinese Taipei’s C.T. Pan is counting on a strong showing to improve his current 176th position.
Thailand’s Jazz Janewattananond, who has based himself in Orlando since March, is looking forward to a debut appearance in Memphis. Despite missing the cut in his last four starts on the PGA TOUR, the 24-year-old is keeping his head up.
“You’re playing against the best in the world and you put yourself there. It’s good gauging yourself and knowing how much more to improve and how far I’m away from them,” said Jazz, the reigning Asian Tour No.1.
China’s Haotong Li will be looking to improve on his tied 20th finish at last year’s WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational. He missed the cut at the Memorial Tournament two weeks ago in his first tournament back since March.
To date, Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama is the only Asian golfer who has won two World Golf Championships tournaments, including the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational when it was played at Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio in 2017. He is also in this week’s field, with a tie for 21st being his best finish to date since last month’s Return to Golf.
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