The Zurich Classic (total prize money of 8.6 million dollars), which opened on the 21st (Korean time), is the only team match event on the PGA Tour. It is fun to see the friendship between the top rankers as much as the content of the game because they are paired up in pairs to determine the rankings. Matthew Fitzpatrick (29, England), who teamed up with his younger brother Alex (24), while Zander Chopley (30), the winner of the previous year, and Patrick Cantley (31, USA) once again joined hands to hunt for the championship. The combination of Max Homa (33) and Colin Morikawa (27, USA) also drew attention.
The group that caught the eye with the most unexpected combination is Lim Seong-jae (25) and Keith Mitchell (31, USA). The two players, who do not seem to have a special contact, showed ‘fantastic chemistry’ by combining 10 under par 62메이저사이트 strokes in the first round of the tournament held at TPC Louisiana (par 72) in Avondale, Louisiana, USA. The match ended in a tie for third place, one stroke behind Wyndham Clark-Bo Hoessler and Sean O’Hare-Brandon Matthews (above USA), who shot 11 under par and 61 strokes.
Their relationship dates back to 2019. According to US Golf Week, they played in the same group in the third round of the Honda Classic that year. Mitchell said, “At the time, Im Seong-jae showed a great attitude, such as smiling and giving high-fives all the time,” and “so as a joke, I suggested that we play together at the Zurich Open.”
However, it took four full years for this proposal to come true. That year, Im Seong-jae had already promised to compete with Kim Min-hui (31). In 2020, the following year, the tournament was not held due to Corona 19, and each of them competed with different players for the past two years.
It was last month that Mitchell received a call from Lim Seong-jae about this year’s tournament. “He got a chance to play with a superstar ranked 18 in the world, and he had no reason to say no,” said Mitchell. Prior to this tournament, the PGA Tour placed Lim Seong-jae and Mitchell Cho at 4th place in the power rankings.
“Iron Man” Seong-jae Lim is a master of the short game. Mitchell, on the other hand, is the best driver driver on the PGA Tour. He is ranked first in the driving category, which comprehensively evaluates distance and accuracy. The synergy between the two was perfect. In the four-ball (best ball) method, in which the two players played with their own balls and the better performance was used as a team score, Lim Seong-jae gained momentum in the early stages, pouring out four birdies in the first half. Mitchell raised the rankings once more by catching an eagle in the 7th hole (par 5) with his characteristic long hit.
Personal friendships have also deepened. In an interview after the game, Mitchell said, “I played a role in helping Im Seong-jae. He was the captain of our team, and in Korean, he is called ‘jujang’.” Also, Mitchell, who graduated from Georgia State University, told Lim Seong-jae about American college football. Mitchell joked, “Im Seong-jae, who lives in Atlanta, Georgia, is now the biggest fan of the Georgia State University football team, the ‘Georgia Bulldogs’.”
The 2nd and 4th rounds are held in a foursome format in which two players alternately hit the same ball. Along with individual skills, the synergy of the two players is essential. Im Seong-jae said, “Maybe Mitchell will hit odd numbers tomorrow, so I will hit more iron shots.”
Kim Si-woo (28) and Kim Joo-hyung (21), who left a strong impression at the Presidents Cup earlier this year, once again united as a team in this tournament. They combined for a 6-under-par 66 to finish in a tie for 43rd.