10 Notes to Know: March 2, 2020

March 2, 2020
Justin Ray
  1. Sungjae Im shot a final round 66 to win The Honda Classic by one shot over Mackenzie Hughes. It was the first PGA Tour victory for Sungjae, who has gathered a reputation as one of the most prolific players in the world. Since the beginning of 2018, Im has played in 76 official tournaments worldwide. The current top-five in the World Ranking has averaged 50.2 starts during that same stretch.
  1. The 21-year-old Im is the second-youngest Asian-born player to win on the PGA Tour, trailing only Si Woo Kim. Last week, 22-year-old Viktor Hovland won the Puerto Rico Open. It’s the first time the Tour has had wins in consecutive weeks by players age 22 or younger since 2012, when John Huh won the Mayakoba Classic and Rory McIlroy won The Honda Classic.
  1. The PGA Tour has seen a significant uptick in wins by young players: since 2015, 6.6 percent of PGA Tour events have been won by players age 22 or younger. In a 30-season span from 1985 through 2014, that number was just 1.9%.
  1. The members of the 2019 International Presidents Cup team (Sungjae included) continue to excel. Since the competition ended, the players on that team have accumulated five worldwide wins. During that same span, the American side has won just three times.
  1. Tommy Fleetwood will have to wait to claim his first win on U.S. soil, as he finished in solo third at The Honda Classic. Fleetwood now has 12 top-five finishes on the PGA Tour since 2014, second-most of any player without a victory in that span.
  1. Sami Välimäki, a 21-year-old from Finland, won the Oman Open in a playoff over Brandon Stone. Välimäki is just the fourth player from Finland all-time to win on the European Tour.
  1. Välimäki led the field in Oman in strokes gained putting for the week, gaining more than eleven strokes against the field on the greens. The Fin hit more than 70 percent of his fairways, an important statistic: Välimäki was 16-under-par when hitting his tee shot in the fairway for the week, best of any player in the field.
  1. Youth served: Sunday was the first time over the last forty years that there were winners on both the PGA (Sungjae) and European (Välimäki) Tours aged 21 or younger on the same day.
  1. Bernhard Langer won the Cologuard Classic, his 41st career PGA Tour Champions victory. He is now just four wins behind Hale Irwin for most all-time. Langer turned 50 in 2007 – his 41 wins in that span are 28 more than anyone else (Fred Couples, 13).
  1. Langer now has eight Champions Tour wins since turning 60 – no other player has won more than three times at 60 or older (Irwin). He is responsible for 24 percent of the victories all-time in that tour’s history by players age 60-plus.