Im with Swiss Challenge win
Daniel Im claimed his maiden European Challenge Tour title at the Swiss Challenge, the American requiring a playoff to beat England’s Gary Boyd.
Im required a birdie to see off the challenge of Boyd in the first playoff hole at the Golf Sempachersee.
Both Im and Boyd finished the entered the clubhouse tied at 11 under-par, with both having opportunities to claim an outright victory.
“It feels amazing,” said Im, who now climbs to fourth in the Road to Oman Rankings. “I’ve been out in Europe for three years now playing Challenge Tour and European Tour and it’s my first win.
“I’m happy to win with a birdie in a play-off too.
“Gary’s a good guy, I’ve known him for a good while now, and it was just fun.
“At the beginning of the round I told my girlfriend Sadie, who is caddying for me, that if we could somehow get to 12 under we might have a chance.
“These guys out here are good so I didn’t expect to be in a play-off with 11 under. I gave it all that I could and I hit my birdie putt at 18 in regular play pretty firm, but I made the par and it was enough.
“My first year out here in Europe I didn’t know what to expect,” said the 30-year old. “I’m from California so I’m used to hot weather, a bit like what we got here this week.
“But I learned a lot over three years and played with a lot of good players on The European Tour last year. I saw how I could manage my game to improve and win a golf tournament.
“I’ve seen the other American guys Brooks (Koepka) and Peter (Uihlein) come through the Challenge Tour and I played with Byeong-hun An a bunch of times in the last couple of years.
“They are my inspiration.”
Im also admitted that having his girlfriend on the bag was a huge factor, not least because she convinced him to choose the Swiss Challenge this week over the Nordea Masters on The European Tour, a decision which has paid dividends.
“She’s always reminding me to stay positive,” he said. “It was funny – at the 11th hole I was standing on the tee box and she just said, ‘you’re not weak, you’re strong, do your thing!’
“I just want to thank her and everybody around me, as well as the people I’ve been staying with this week – Robert and Veronica – and I want to thank god for making everything happen.
“This week I had got into Sweden on The European Tour but we made a decision that we needed more money on Challenge Tour and it’s a good thing I came!”
Boyd, will now move to 13th in the Road to Oman as a result of this runner-up finish, is still without a win since the 2009 Kenya Open.
“It’s obviously gutting not to win,” said Boyd. “But at the end of the day a second place finish and only losing out in a play-off is a great week. It’s just disappointing that there was a chance there to win coming up the final stretch.
“I had some of my best swings at the last four holes following a bit of a shaky period after the turn. Then I had a chance at the last and I was unlucky in the play-off with a poor lie in the bunker.
“Fair play to Daniel though, he made birdie in the play-off and you can’t argue with that. It’s onwards and upwards for me for the rest of the season, that’s for sure.”