A True Banner Day For Asia!
Talk about an almost clean weep on the world stage of professional golf. Asia was simply on fire as its stars showed their mettle and pull off great wins for the week.
It all started with South Korea’s 26-year-old phenom, Jin Young Ko. She played some incredible golf this week and she simply had a lot of fun doing it.
With her game being in the best place possible, the former world number one defended her title to pull off a wire-to-wire win at the 2021 Cognizant Founders Cup.
With all the fun she was having, she seemed oblivious of the fact that she had created golf history.
Ko’s 5-under 66 lifted her to 18-under for a four-shot victory – it was Ko’s 14th straight round in the 60s, which ties the mark Annika Sorenstam set in the middle of her 10-win season in 2005.
Sorenstam won three of four tournaments during that stretch of 14 straight rounds in the 60s, including a major, and was runner-up in another. Ko won twice and was runner-up and tied for sixth in the others during her streak.
With the Cognizant Founders Cup win, Ko has joined Nelly Korda as the only three-time winners on the LPGA Tour this season, and she became the fifth South Korean with at least 10 victories, still well short of the record 25 held by pioneer Se Ri Pak.
Next up for Ko will be the BMW Ladies Championship and if she keeps her form going, she will stand a chance to surpass and beat Sorenstam and set a new record.
For her record equalling feat, Ko earned US$450,000.
Now, here comes the clincher – Ko has pulled within 20 points of Nelly Korda in the Race to the CME Globe with the end of the season fast approaching.
Korda replaced Ko’s long run at No. 1 in the world a few months ago when she won her first major at the Women’s PGA Championship.
He played and fought like a “Hwarang” the feared Korean warriors, and never looked back as he charged his way to victory at the Shriners Children’s Open.
Im started the final round three strokes back from the leader but it was obvious from his first drive, that he was set on winning the tournament.
At one stage, it looked like Im was going to shoot a round of 59 – that was how hot he was on the day. He finally fired a 9-under 62, which gave him a clear four-shot lead over the chasing pack.
Im’s share of the US$7 million prize purse was US$1.26 million.
Im was Player of the Year on the 2018 Web.com Tour and he was also Rookie of the Year for the 2018–19 PGA Tour.
He scored his first PGA Tour victory at The Honda Classic in March 2020.
While Im was the king on the PGA Tour for the day, India’s Shubhankar Sharma was shining on the European Tour.
Much has been expected of young Indian professional Shubhankar Sharma. He created quite a stir when he first hit the fairways a few years ago and was predicted to become a big star both at home in India and internationally.
Since then, Sharma has had an up and down career with no real major success. However, this all changed at the 2021 Spanish Open which was won by Spaniard Rafa Cabrero Bello.
The Indian golfer placed himself in a good spot in the third round to remain tied for fifth place. He had earlier shot 67-64 on the first two days.
In the final round, Sharma put on a determined display and wrapped up his Spanish Open campaign with a score of 17-under par, two shots back from the eventual winner. He was tied for third place.
Sharma, has been showing good signs over the past few weeks, and is now ranked in the Top-60 for the Race to Dubai’s World Tour Championships later in the year.