10/26/2015

The PGA Tour’s fall series continues on with its mysterious locations, this time heading to Malaysia. And no, it’s not to murder their prime minister…

It’s to play golf.

Starting in 2013, the CIMB Classic was expanded to 78 players and started to be included on the PGA Tour money list. With the money list standings– and inevitable FedEx Cup points– follow the players. These fall events are a great place to lock a solid start toward securing a PGA Tour card and get a head start on points. Also, a trip to Malaysia during the start of winter, hey, it sounds like a nice place to visit.

Temperatures are to be hot and muggy, like Malaysia always is.

CIMB Classic Field

Click here to see the entire field in Malaysia this week.

Course– Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club

Screenshot 2015-10-26 13.31.01

Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club

Opened in 1991, the facility is home to two gorgeous 18-hole golf courses– the West Course and the East Course. This week’s event will be played on the West Course, where Ryan Moore holds the course record of 63, and where the event has been hosted previously.

Just 8km out of the smog of downtown Kuala Lumpur, the KCGCC is home to the finest of luxuries available to a country perhaps known more for rainforests and sweatshops than anything else.

Phil Mickelson is quoted on the course’s home website, saying, “It’s a great golf course. KLGCC is really a world-class facility,” I guess giving the course the re-assurance it needs.

I don’t know why I’m coming across as harsh on the event. It just always seems so odd to me to see places of such lavish excess in a nation with incredible poverty. Maybe if this was in Bangaladesh, I would feel more strongly.

All in all, this is a wonderful course from an aesthetic stance. It looks great on TV and the players seem to enjoy it. I’ve never played it so click the link below to get a hole-by-hole…

View the entire course here on PGATour.com.

More from Timothy Frank:

Tweet of the Week

Luke Donald with the tweet of the week so far…

Driving Series

Last 5 Winners of the CIMB Classic

2014: Ryan Moore (Read more here)

2013: Ryan Moore

2012: Nick Watney

2011: Bo Van Pelt

2010: Ben Crane

And yes– we’ve got a Bo Van Pelt sighting!

This Week’s Picks

Three from the Fairway (Contenders

1.Ryan Moore

moore

He’s the winner of the last two CIMB Classics– how can you NOT include him in a CIMB Preview?

Off to a solid start this year, Moore has made two cuts in his only two starts and even had a top-10 at the Frys.com, a nice finish. Last year before winning here, he missed the cut at the Shriners, but the year before, he went top-10 then win, so there’s no bearing to gauge.

Honestly, don’t have much to say on this pick other than his track record is so good here, he’s impossible to ignore when filling out your rosters.

2. Cameron Smith

cameron smith

Google Cameron Smith. Go ahead, do it. If you don’t follow it with the simple word ‘golf,’ you’ll come nowhere near any information surrounding this 22-year old Australian golf phenom.

In his 21-year old season of starts on the PGA Tour, Cameron Smith had two top-5 finishes. The first came famously at the 2015 U.S. Open at Chambers Bay. The second, at the CIMB Classic last fall, where rounds of 70, 69, 68 and 68 finished Smith at 12-under par.

Last year on the PGA Tour, Smith ranked 21st in greens in reg. and 34th in driving accuracy, two of his game’s cornerstones. In Moore’s victories at the CIMB, he’s hit the greens in a flurry, ranking at the top of the field both times he’s won.

In the field again this week, Cameron Smith is going to follow Moore’s blueprint and lock up another top-10.

3. Kevin Na

kevin na

Is he tired yet? Probably, but ride him!

When a guy is playing well on the PGA Tour, we need to adapt the “Jordan Spieth Rule” which means the following:

Until a player is deemed to have shown that he will not play well, PLAY HIM EVERY SINGLE WEEK AND RIDE HIS COATTAILS TO VICTORY!

Kevin Na is currently working through a stretch of play like that right now.

na score

This was last year’s 2014 CIMB Classic leaderboard:

Screenshot 2015-10-26 15.12.19

Kevin Na until he stops making birdies…

Bonus Pick:

Patrick Reed

patrick-reed-humana-2_t640

He’s been in Asia now for a few weeks, inevitably gaining an advantage on those who needed to make the 14-hour flight this week.

His nice finish at the Hong Kong Open last week (T3) bodes well for his play and current form. Patty Reed is going to be playing well come Sunday, and I like him for a top-10.

And he seems to be in good spirits!

Two from the Rough (Sleepers)

  1. Brendan Steele
brendan steele

*old Titleist driver picture…*

Aside from an opening 63 to start the season at the Frys.com, there’s really no good reason to start Steele here. He finished the week with a 76 at the Frys then followed it with an MC at the Shriners. He seems to have lost his touch, right?

I still like him this week, and here’s why.

The CIMB is a no-cut event, so Steele’s ability to go low this week (which he’s already shown in the short season) could still factor in. He’s solid in Strokes-Gained-Tee-to-Green, last year ranking 15th and this year already off to a nice start. For Steele, the gravy is in his putter.

Since joining the PGA Tour in 2011, Steele has never been top-70 in Strokes Gained Putting. So far this year, he’s 90th. But I think he’ll putt well this week, with his only start at the CIMB being a top-25.

“That was so much easier than putting…” — Happy Gilmore. Steele could harness some more of this:

2. Chad Campbell

chad campbell

The 209th-ranked player in the world put together a salty week at the Shriners, posting a T8 finish with three sub-68 rounds.

Last year was a good one for the 40-year old Tour veteran. He had two top-10s on the year, with another two T11 finishes. He made it all the way to Boston in the FedEx Cup.

If anyone can find footage of Chad Campbell having played golf in Malaysia at any point in his career, let me know, because I have no record of it. But I still like him this week because he’s been playing so, ever nicely.

For a sleeper, Chad Campbell might be a good buy this week.

Bonus Sleeper:

Anirban Lahiri

anirban lahiri

When he played in the Malaysian Open in here, he won. Yep, same venue.

This is a late addition to my preview, because I think people looking up information on this event should know how important this event is for Anirban moving forward.

For more information, read this highlight on PGATour.com.


The Man in Malaysia with the Trophy

Adam Scott 

adam-scott-usgolftv

Adam has taken some time off, but for good reason. Where this is the “off-season” for the stars in the states and Europe, for Adam, this is the middle of his summer. Australian golf is just starting to pick up and Adam always plays a generous amount during these months. Playing well in front of his home country is something he absolutely values, and places value in.

Last year, Scott combined a 4th ranked driving distance stat with a 16th-ranked GIR stat, two numbers which had to, in some way, be related to one another. Both though should give him chances at KLGCC.

Still one of the elite ball strikers in the world, I have a gut take on Adam Scott to start his season off right and get a “W.” He’s gearing up…

Proof that Adam Scott can putt with a short putter:

Driving Series