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“Iron Man” Im Sung-jae set a new 72-hole birdie record and tied for fifth place at The Sentry ($20 million purse), the opening event of the 2024 U.S. Professional Golf (PGA) Tour season. Ahn Byung-hoon (pictured below) also tied for fourth, the best start to a season in his career.

The South Korean shot a 10-under 63 with 11 birdies and one bogey for a total of 25-under 267 on the final day at the Plantation Course (par-73, 7596 yards) in Kapalua, Maui, Hawaii (USA), four shots behind winner Chris Kirk (29-under 263-USA). Lim’s 34 birdies – nine in the first round, eight in the second and six in the third – set a new PGA Tour record for most birdies in a single event, surpassing the previous mark of 32 set by last year’s winner, John Rahm (Spain).

After recording six birdies and one bogey through the 10th hole, Lim reeled off four straight birdies from the 12th to reach 33 birdies and added a birdie on the 18th (par-5). “I had six birdies yesterday, but I made a lot of mistakes that I shouldn’t have made. It was very windy and I was greedy,” he said. “I’m glad I did well in my first tournament. I’m glad to have done well in my first tournament.” “I’m glad to have done well in my first tournament,” he said.

The PGA Tour website said, “He’s known for his steady play, but he’s actually a birdie machine. In his rookie season in 2019, he made 480 birdies to beat runner-up Adam Shank by 83 strokes, and in 2021, he set a new record for most birdies in a season with 498.”

Ahn shot a 7-under-par 66 with one eagle, seven birdies and two bogeys to finish in a tie for fourth place (26-under-par 266 total). Coming off a successful season after a tie for fourth at the Fortinet Championship, the opening event of the 2022-2023 season in his return to the Conferry Tour (Division 2), Ahn’s strong start to the new year has raised hopes that his first win is just around the corner. “It’s a good start,” Ahn said. I’m playing well right now, so I’m going into next week’s tournament with a little more faith in myself.”

Chris Kirk birdied the par-4 17th to win by one stroke from Sahith Tigalla, who was tied for the lead. Kirk, who won the PGA Tour’s Courage Award at the end of the year after overcoming depression to win the Honda Classic last year (February), has six career victories and $3.6 million in prize money. Ahn Byung-hoon earned $975,000 (about 1.28 billion won) and Lim Sung-jae earned $695,000 (about 900 million won).

Jordan Spieth (USA) finished in a tie for third (27-under-par 265), while five players tied for fifth with Lim, including world No. 1 Scott Schauffler, 2023 U.S. Open champion Brian Harman and Colin Morikawa (USA). Siu Kim finished tied for 25th (20-under par) and Joo Hyung Kim tied for 45th (14-under par).


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