On The Tee: Im flies late to land the jackpot in Las Vegas
LiveScore's resident golf expert Matthew Hill runs the rule over the last seven days on the fairways, with wins for Sungjae Im and Rafa Cabrera Bello.
Sungjae Im came from three strokes back to land the Shriners Children’s Open in Las Vegas — his second career PGA Tour win.
The South Korean star, 23, was at his brilliant best on Sunday afternoon, taking apart TPC Summerlin with a glorious nine-under-par round of 62 to seal a four-shot triumph.
Since bursting onto the flagship tour three years ago, Im has shown himself capable of competing with the very best around and has gained popularity among fans for his unwavering commitment to playing as many events as possible.
This latest victory arrived on his 100th tour start and doubled his win tally following success at the Honda Classic at the start of 2020.
In his post-round interview, Im confessed that the length of time between his two trophies had been longer than he had anticipated.
He said: "After getting my first victory, I began to wonder if the second win would ever come. It's been a difficult journey.
"I stayed patient and kept my composure on the course. I was able to pounce on this opportunity and get this victory.
"I tried to focus on each and every hole and forget about the third round."
Im’s brilliance saw him eventually run out a comfortable winner, though it had not seemed likely at the start of the final day.
A disappointing third-round 70 marred by several avoidable bogeys left him cut adrift, with plenty of capable names also in contention.
Adam Schenk held the 54-hole lead on 18-under-par, with former US Open runner-up Matt Wolff and in-form Sam Burns the two nearest pursuers.
Yet while that trio struggled to gain any momentum, Im quickly hauled himself into contention with four birdies in his opening seven holes.
Then, where others would have panicked, the 23-year-old managed to find another gear — reeling off five straight birdies around the turn to all but secure the title.
He said: "After I got a few birdies in a row, I didn't feel much pressure the rest of the way.
"I saw the scoreboard for the first time on the 14th hole and when I saw that I was leading by five I said to myself, 'Let's not make a mistake’ — and thankfully I didn’t."
Many of the tour’s biggest names continue to take a short break from the course as the season schedule enters a lower-key run of events.
Rafa reigns in Spain
Rafa Cabrera Bello was an extremely popular winner of the European Tour’s Open de Espana, edging compatriot Adri Arnaus in a playoff to end his four-year barren spell in Madrid.
Cabrera Bello, who has fallen all the way down to No231 in the world rankings as a result of his struggles, held his nerve admirably for a morale-boosting triumph that he hopes will help kickstart his career again.
Speaking after lifting the trophy, he explained: "I came here in a pretty bad place with scores being not what I expect them to be.
"To be able to get momentum and turn it around and to walk out of here with a win means a lot to me.
"Hopefully I can keep going and get back to the player I know I can be."
It had looked like another tough Sunday was in store for the 37-year-old Las Palmas native after he began his final round with a disastrous double-bogey.
Yet a composed finish, which featured three straight birdies at holes 13, 14 and 15, was enough to force a playoff with Arnaus, where a gutsy up-and-down three saw him prevail.
World No1 Jon Rahm looked certain to be in contention for a third straight Open de Espana crown after opening up with a stunning round of 63 on Thursday.
Yet a one-over-par 72 on Saturday left the 26-year-old with too much to do, allowing a compatriot to step in and take the glory instead.
The tour also confirmed this week that Al Hamra Golf Club will play host to the inaugural Ras Al Khaimah Championship in 2022 — the latest addition to their five-week Middle East swing.
Set to debut in February next year, a $2m prize purse will be up for grabs as the game continues to increase its efforts to grow in the region.