Orlando, March 6 (IANS) For the third consecutive year, Korean standout Sungjae Im entered the weekend rounds at the Arnold Palmer Invitational inside the top 10 on the leaderboard. He finished in the top-three in his first two appearances at Bay Hill Club & Lodge and hopes to be third-time lucky by winning the prestigious PGA Tour tournament.
Im, who is ranked 17th in the world, posted a second round 2-under 70 on Friday and sits at 5-under 139 in tied seventh place through 36 holes. He trails leader Corey Conners by four while Martin Laird sits in solo second at 8-under. Viktor Hovland, Rory McIlroy and Lanto Griffin are a further stroke back in share of third place.
Thailand’s Jazz Janewattananond fired the day’s low score with a superb 65, which was a 10 shot improvement from his opening round. The former Asian no. 1 took advantage of his local course knowledge as he is a Bay Hill member after staying with two-time PGA TOUR winner, Daniel Chopra, for nearly four months during the COVID-19 pandemic last year. He enters the third round in tied 11th place, five off the lead.
Chasing a second tour win, Im made the turn at even par — a 22-foot birdie putt at the par-3 second was offset with a bogey at the par-5 sixth — before moving into red numbers with a birdie at the 10th. Though a double bogey at the 13th moved him to 1-over for the day, the 22-year-old quickly rallied at the ensuing par-3, pouring in a 30-foot birdie putt to get back to even-par. He ended his day on a high note at the par-5 16th, which he eagled after hitting his 190-yard approach shot inside 10 feet. He eagled the 16th on Thursday as well.
Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama shot a second round 70 to make the halfway cut with one stroke to spare but C.T. Pan (74), Sung Kang (77), India’s Anirban Lahiri (78) and K.H. Lee (78) all missed the cut. Si Woo Kim withdrew following Thursday’s opening round.