“Still happy more than a week after the Asian Games”
After winning gold in the team event at the recently concluded Hangzhou Asian Games, South Korean men’s golf standout Im Sung-jae, 25, has his sights set on next year’s Paris Olympics. He has made no secret of his goal of winning an Olympic medal to erase the disappointment of the Tokyo Games two years ago.
“It’s been more than a week since the Asian Games ended and I’m still happy,” Lim said at the opening press conference of the Korea Professional Golf (KPGA) Korean Tour Genesis Championship at Jack Nicklaus Golf Course in Incheon on Nov. 11. Every morning, I start my day with the feeling of being a gold medalist.” He continued, “After the Asian Games, I realized that I want to win an Olympic medal. I want to represent my country and compete for a medal.”
Lim, who competes on the U.S. Professional Golf Association (PGA) Tour, won silver and gold medals in the men’s individual and team golf events at the Hangzhou Asian Games. He finished second overall in the individual competition with a total of 26-under-par 262, while his teammates Kim Si-woo (28), Cho Woo-young (22) and Jang Yubin (21) combined for a 76-under-par 788 to win the team title. Lim, who was exempted from military service for his gold medal, said, “I was nervous and under pressure during the four days of the Asian Games. But all four of us played well and we were able to win the team gold. I’m still feeling great,” he said of his victory.
“I’m surprised because my drive is about 300 yards when I hit it well, but the juniors hit it 300 yards by default,” he said of his teammates, Cho Woo-young and Jang Yubin. “I think if you want to make it on the PGA Tour, you have to try as young as possible to do well.
Lim also competed in the Tokyo Olympics two years ago under the Korean flag. However, he finished tied for 22nd. His next chance to redeem himself will be in Paris next July. “I was disappointed that I didn’t show my full potential at the Tokyo Olympics,” Lim said, “and I was even more greedy after not winning the individual gold medal at the Asian Games 굿모닝토토. I want to represent my country and compete for a medal in Paris,” he said.
With two career wins on the PGA Tour, Lim was unable to add another victory this season. However, he has nine top-10 finishes and is ranked 26th in the men’s world standings. “I was disappointed with my performance in the majors this year. One of my goals is to win a major next year.”
Lim has a long history with the Genesis Championship. At the 2019 event, he was seven strokes behind leader Moon Kyung-jun (42) after three rounds, but rallied to win by five strokes on the final day. The Genesis Championship was the first time Lim, who plays primarily on the PGA Tour, reached the top of the leaderboard on the KPGA Tour. “In the future, I will compete in domestic tournaments as long as my schedule does not overlap with the PGA Tour,” he said.
The tournament, which has a total prize fund of 1.5 billion won, will be held for four days from Dec. 12 to 15. In addition to Lim, last year’s winner Kim Young-soo (34), Ko Gun-taek (24), who has three wins this season, and other top golfers such as Park Sang-hyun (40) and Ham Jeong-woo (29) are all competing. Jo Woo-young and Jang Yoo-bin, who shared the gold medal with Lim at the Asian Games, will also be in contention. Lim will tee off with Kim Young-soo and Ham Jeong-woo in the first round at 12 noon on Wednesday.