Four Asian stars advance into BMW Championship


Sungjae Im. Photo Credit: Getty Images


Korea's Sungjae Im enjoyed his best finish at THE NORTHERN TRUST in a share of 16th place on Monday as he led three other Asian stars into the second FedExCup Playoffs event, the BMW Championship which begins on Thursday.

The 24-year-old Im, who was making his third appearance in the first Playoffs event, closed out the weather-hit week which forced a Monday finish with five birdies against four bogeys at Liberty National Golf Club. He rose from 30th position to 25th on the FedExCup standings following his 14th top-25 finish of the PGA TOUR 2020-21 Season.

Japan's reigning Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama settled for a share of 43rd following a 70 as well which included a double bogey, bogey finish over his closing two holes. He dropped two rungs to 16th place on the FedExCup standings.

Another Korean, K.H. Lee will enter the BMW Championship in 37th place following his tie for 47th finish at Liberty National while compatriot Si Woo Kim, who missed the halfway cut, will be the fourth and final Asian player advancing in the Playoffs in 33rd position.

American Tony Finau won THE NORTHERN TRUST after defeating Australian Cameron Smith in the first hole of a sudden-death playoff after both tied on 20-under 264, with World No. 1 Jon Rahm finishing third. Finau's long awaited second PGA TOUR victory moves him up to pole position on the FedExCup standings.

This week, the top-70 players will tee up at Caves Valley Golf Club at Owings Mills, with the subsequent top-30 advancing into the Season Finale, the TOUR Championship at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta. Since the FedExCup was inaugurated in 2007, no more than two Asians have featured at the same time at the TOUR Championship.

Needing a top-10 finish to have any hopes of advancing, India's Anirban Lahiri settled for a share of 56th position following a final round which included four birdies and three bogeys. He was making his return into the Playoffs for the first time in three years.

"Not the finish to the season I was looking for but happy with the effort. Big thank you to my team for riding the highs and lows. Time to rest up and recover. #currypower," the 34-year-old Indian star tweeted on Monday.

Chinese Taipei's C.T. Pan had missed the weekend cut to bow out of the Playoffs but not before shooting a hole-in-one in the par 3 fourth hole during his second round.

Final-Round Notes – Monday, August 23, 2021

Weather: Mostly cloudy. High of 81. Wind SW 12-16 mph, with gusts to 20 mph. The final round was postponed due to Tropical Storm Henri and began Monday at 11:30 a.m. ET.

Final-Round Leaderboard

Tony Finau 67-64-68-65—264 (-20)*

Cameron Smith 69-68-60-67—264 (-20)

Jon Rahm 63-67-67-69—266 (-18)

Alex Noren 69-64-70-66—269 (-15)

Tom Hoge 69-64-67-69—269 (-15)

Justin Thomas 63-69-67-70—269 (-15)

* defeated Cameron Smith with a par-4 on the first playoff hole (No. 18)

Leading Asian Scores

Sungjae Im 71-65-67-70 – 273 (-11, T16)

Hideki Matsuyama 69-68-70-70 – 277 (-7, T43)

K.H. Lee 71-68-69-70 – 278 (-6, T47)

Anirban Lahiri 69-69-71-70 – 279 (-5, T56)

Things to Know

  • Tony Finau defeats Cameron Smith in a playoff, earning his second PGA TOUR title

  • The win comes in Finau's 143rd start since his first victory on TOUR (2016 Puerto Rico Open)

  • World No. 1 Jon Rahm, who held at least a share of the lead after each of the first three rounds, plays the final four holes in 2-over and finishes solo-third

  • Keith Mitchell birdies each of the final three holes to move into the top 70 in the FedExCup standings and qualify for the BMW Championship

  • Players moving into the top 70 in the FedExCup standings and qualifying for the BMW Championship (6): Alex Noren (T4), Erik van Rooyen (7th), Tom Hoge (T4), Harold Varner III (T11), Mitchell (T8), Harry Higgs (T16)

  • Players moving out of the top 70 (6): Matthew Wolff, Matt Fitzpatrick, Tyrrell Hatton, Martin Laird, Troy Merritt, J.T. Poston (all MC)

  • Last unscheduled Monday finish on TOUR: 2019 ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP


Tony Finau (Winner/-20)

  • Earns second PGA TOUR title in his 189th career start at the age of 31 years, 11 months, 9 days

  • Win comes 1,975 days and 143 starts since first victory at the 2016 Puerto Rico Open

  • In the 142 starts between victories, Finau recorded eight runner-up finishes and 39 top-10s

  • Moves to No. 1 in the FedExCup standings for the first time in his career

  • Improves to 2-3 in playoffs on TOUR (losses: 2018 World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions, 2020 Waste Management Phoenix Open, 2021 The Genesis Invitational)

Playoff notes

  • Third consecutive week on the PGA TOUR schedule with a playoff (first time with three straight since 2019 The RSM Classic, 2020 Sentry Tournament of Champions, 2020 Sony Open in Hawaii)

  • 13th playoff of the PGA TOUR season

  • Updated playoff records: Finau, 2-3; Smith, 3-1

Tropical Storm Henri notes

  • The final round moved to Monday due to Tropical Storm Henri

  • Last unscheduled Monday finish on the PGA TOUR: 2019 ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP

  • Last time fans were not allowed to attend a tournament round for a reason other than COVID-19 restrictions: Saturday, 2019 ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP

FedExCup Playoffs notes

Players moving into the top 70

Additional player notes

  • 14 consecutive PGA TOUR events have been won by players that trailed after each of the first three rounds; the last player to lead after any round and go on to win was Phil Mickelson at the 2021 PGA Championship (T1/R2, 1st/R3)

  • Cameron Smith, who carded a career-low and course-record-setting 60 in the third round, falls in a playoff to Tony Finau, earns his second runner-up of the season and first since the 2020 Masters Tournament; Smith enters the BMW Championship at a career-high No. 3 in the FedExCup standings

  • World No. 1 Jon Rahm (3rd) plays the final four holes in 2-over to miss the playoff by two strokes; Rahm held at least a share of the lead after each of the first three rounds

  • Keith Mitchell, who entered the week No. 101 in the FedExCup standings, makes birdie on each of the final three holes to finish T8, moving to No. 63 in the FedExCup standings and qualifying for the BMW Championship (only player to birdie 16-17-18 in the final round); this is Mitchell's third appearance at the penultimate FedExCup Playoffs event in four seasons on TOUR

  • Harold Varner III (72 to 56 in the FedExCup standings) moves inside the cut line for the following FedExCup Playoffs event for the third time at THE NORTHERN TRUST (2017, 2019, 2021); the only other player to do so three or more times is Camilo Villegas (2011, 2013, 2015)