Kim Joo-hyung, Im Sung-jae post top-20 finishes at Masters

April 10, 2023

Two of the four South Korean players in action at the Masters finished inside the top 20 in Augusta, Georgia, on Sunday.

Kim Joo-hyung and Im Sung-jae tied for 16th at two-under 286 at Augusta National Golf Club in the season’s first major championship. Kim, making his Masters debut, shot a two-under 70 in the final round, with four birdies, one eagle and four bogeys. He did not break 70 in any of his four rounds here.

Despite a solid showing, Kim Joo-hyung said he would not even give himself a 10 out of 100.

“Perhaps you could say I had a strong finish, but I made too many mistakes,” Kim said. “I controlled my iron shots well, but I didn’t have a great short game or putting. I’d love to do better the next time I play here.”

Kim, 20, was hyped up as one of the names to watch in the days leading up to the big tournament. He played a practice round with such luminaries as Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, and played the Par 3 Contest with Scottie Scheffler, the world No. 1 and defending champion.

Kim said he wanted to inspire fans back home and drive up interest in golf by winning the Masters, noting how the men’s national football team had done the same for their sport by reaching the knockout stage at last year’s FIFA World Cup.

“I grew up watching the Masters on television in the wee hours of the morning,” Kim said. “Now that I’ve played here, I want to win this tournament.”

Im played the final round at even par, after shooting 67 in the third round. On Sunday, Im carded four birdies and four bogeys.

Im was in danger of missing the cut but made par on the 18th hole in the second round to secure his tee time on the weekend. Im had two top-10s in his three previous Masters appearances before this year.

Im played the weather-interrupted third round with Woods, the first time he had been paired with the 15-time major champion at any tournament.

The duo only got seven holes in on Saturday before play was suspended. And Woods withdrew from the tournament before the round resumed Sunday, citing plantar fasciitis in his right foot. He dropped six shots over those seven holes in the third round.

“I was so happy to play with Woods. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Im beamed after completing his tournament. “I was disappointed to have only played seven holes with him. I felt like I was a fan next to him.”

The third round ended up being Im’s best round this week, as he poured in six birdies against one bogey.

“I think I focused extra hard to make an impression on Woods,” Im said. “But he was laboring out there, and we didn’t really talk much.”

Im played the final round with his countryman Lee Kyoung-hoon, who finished at one-under 287 to tie for 23rd. After opening his final round with two straight birdies, Lee committed four consecutive bogeys. He salvaged his day with birdies on the two par-five holes on the back nine, Nos. 13 and 15. This was Lee’s second Masters appearance, after missing the cut last year.

“It’s a bittersweet feeling. After two early birdies, I lost all the momentum with four straight bogeys,” said Lee, who broke 70 once with a 67 in the second round. “I went five-under in the second round this year, and I will try to post that score for two or three days next time.”

Kim Si-woo finished in a tie for 29th at one-over 289, after shooting 72 for his third consecutive day Sunday. He had two birdies against two bogeys to wrap up his seventh Masters appearance.

Jon Rahm of Spain won his first green jacket at 12-under, after shooting 69 in the final round, with Phil Mickelson and Brooks Koepka tying for second at eight-under.

Koepka began the final round with a two-stroke lead over Rahm but stumbled to 75 on Sunday afternoon.