21-year-old South Korean Sonjae Im started fast and finished stronger Sunday, winning The Honda Classic by one shot over Mackenzie Hughes and two over Tommy Fleetwood for his first victory in 50 tries on tour.
But before he could be whisked back to the course to collect the trophy, Im made sure to speak out about the coronavirus and tell those in South Korea — where nearly 4,000 cases have been confirmed — that he was thinking of them.
Im shot a 4-under 66 on Sunday, finishing at 6 under to match the second-highest winning score since the Honda moved to PGA National in 2007. He was the tour’s rookie of the year last season, plus has played more tournaments and more rounds than anyone since the 2018-19 season began nearly a year and a half ago.
And now, he’s a winner, picking up $1.26 million this week and becoming the Honda’s 10th international champion in the last 16 seasons.
Im birdied four of his first five holes, then birdied two of the final four — after sticking tee shots on the tough par-3 15 and 17th holes within 8 feet both times — to finish off the victory.
Hughes, a Canadian who made the cut on the number Friday, shot his second consecutive 66. Playing alongside Im, he was part of some serious fireworks on the last two holes and missed a birdie putt at the par-5 finishing hole that would have gotten him into a tie for the top spot.
Fleetwood (71) was alone in third and is still seeking his first PGA Tour win. He started the day one shot clear of the field and started birdie-birdie to get to 7 under at that point — matching what was the low score in relation to par of the week.