Two wins, Regular Season money title also secures Rookie of the Year honors for Im
JEJU ISLAND, South Korea – Sungjae Im of Jeju, South Korea, was named 2018 Web.com Tour Player of the Year in a vote of his peers, it was announced today at THE CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES. Im, who received the Jack Nicklaus Trophy for winning Web.com Tour Player of the Year, bested four other nominees: Anders Albertson, Sam Burns, Kramer Hickok and Martin Trainer. A rookie on the Web.com Tour in 2018, Im was also named the Tour’s first Rookie of the Year.
The 20-year-old won twice on the Web.com Tour in 2018 and became the first player in Tour history to lead the money list wire-to-wire. Im becomes the first Korean-born player to be named Player of the Year, as well as the youngest, a record previously held by Jamie Lovemark, who took home the title in 2010 at 22 years of age.
“On behalf of the PGA TOUR, I would like to congratulate Sungjae Im for his record-breaking rookie season on the Web.com Tour and earning these two awards through a vote of his peers,” said PGA TOUR Commissioner Jay Monahan. “To win in his first-ever Web.com Tour start and go on to lead the money list wire-to-wire is truly remarkable. And we’ve seen that Sungjae’s talent translates to success on the PGA TOUR, as he finished just one shot out of a playoff at the season-opening Safeway Open.”
After brief stints on the Japan Golf Tour and the Korean Tour, Im came to the United States in 2017 in an attempt to qualify for the Web.com Tour. He finished second in the Web.com Tour Qualifying Tournament, carding a 10-under 60 in the third round to secure status for the 2018 season.
The South Korea native went on to win the season-opening The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay, becoming the first player since Bryson DeChambeau in 2016 to win their first Web.com Tour start. At 19 years, 9 months and 17 days, he became the second-youngest player to win on Tour. A week later he posted a runner-up finish, locking up his PGA TOUR card and beginning what would be a season-long stint atop the money list.
Im continued his strong play throughout the year, finishing the season with $553,800 in earnings, the fourth-most single-season earnings in Tour history. He amassed eight top-10 finishes, including a second win at the Regular Season-ending WinCo Foods Portland Open presented by KraftHeinz. By the end of the season, he led the Tour in total birdies (397), final round scoring average (68.00) and total rounds in the 60s (54).
“My first year on the Web.com Tour was an incredibly happy time for me,” Im said, “and it’s pretty surreal that I was able to win the first and last tournament of the season. I honestly thought I would spend about two to three years on the Web.com Tour before making it to the PGA TOUR, so I’m happy to have achieved my goal so soon. I’m grateful to have earned the Player of the Year honors and I hope to finish the remainder of the PGA TOUR season on a good note.”
His season-long performance kept him atop the money list for a record-breaking 27 straight weeks. By virtue of being named the combined money list winner, Im received full exempt status on the PGA TOUR for the 2018-19 season, as well as a spot in THE PLAYERS Championship.
Im’s first-year success resulted in him being crowned the Web.com Tour’s inaugural Rookie of the Year. Im was selected for this honor, also by his fellow competitors, over Sam Burns, Cameron Champ, Kramer Hickok and Martin Trainer.
“Sungjae Im had an incredible rookie season on the Web.com Tour,” said Web.com Tour President Dan Glod. “We are proud to name him as both the 2018 Web.com Tour Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year. He is a fantastic example of the growing international presence we are seeing on the Tour and we are excited to see what he will accomplish on the PGA TOUR.”
PGA TOUR Executive Vice President of International, Ty Votaw, presented Im with the awards at a press conference at THE CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES.
For more information on the Web.com Tour, or Sungjae Im, please visit PGATOUR.com.