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BlogCIMB Classic Preview and Picks

CIMB Classic

Ocober 20th – 23rd, 2016

Kuala Lumpur Golf & C.C.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Par: 72 / Yardage: 6,985

Purse: $7 million

with $1,260.000 to the winner

Defending Champion:
Justin Thomas

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:
sal@golfstats.com

This week’s field includes:

The field includes 37 of the top 100 and 17 of the top 50 in the latest Official World Rankings, with the highest rank player being #6 Adam Scott.  The other top 50 players are #7 Patrick Reed, #12 Paul Casey, #13 Hideki Matsuyama, #14 Sergio Garcia, #16 Branden Grace, #20 Russell Knox, #25 Emiliano Grillo, #28 Kevin Chappell, #30 Ryan Moore, #31 Rafael Cabrera Bello, #34 Scott Piercy, #35 Justin Thomas, #36 Kevin Na, #37 Kevin Kisner, #38 Daniel Berger and #39 Byeong Hun An.

Last year there were 17 top 50 players, so two less this year.

The field includes 13 of the Top 25 on last year’s final FedEx point standings for 2016.  Those players includes #3 Patrick Reed, #4 Adams Scott, #5 Paul Casey, #7 Ryan Moore, #8 Kevin Chappell, #10 Russell Knox, #11 Emiliano Grillo, #12 Justin Thomas, #17 Si Woo Kim, #20 Gary Woodland, #23 Kevin Kisner and #24 William McGirt.

The field includes 9 players in the top 25 on last year’s PGA Tour money list, #3 Adams Scott, #4 Patrick Reed, #7 Russell Knox, #8 Kevin Chappell, #9 Hideki Matsuyama, #11 Justin Thomas, #14 Paul Casey, #16 Ryan Moore, #17 William McGirt, #20 Kevin Na, #20 Kevin Kisner, #22 Emiliano Grillo and #25 Sergio Garcia.

The field includes 2 past champions: Justin Thomas (2016) and Ryan Moore (2015 & ’14).

A perfect way for fantasy golfers to check on the past performance of all the players in the CIMB Classic field is our performance chart listed by average finish. One last way to check who is the best is through a special formula worked out in Golfstats that gives us the best average performances at CIMB Classic in the last three years or check out our sortable 5-year glance at the CIMB Classic

A good cheat sheet is this list of odds from the top bookmakers in England.

Time to look at our who’s hot and who isn’t:

Who’s Hot in the field for the CIMB Classic

Player Safeway Open British Masters Dunhill Links Championship Tour Championship BMW Championship Deutsche Bank Barclays Classic Wyndham Championship John Deere Olympic Men’s Golf
Paul Casey
(329.5 pts)
T3
(90)
DNP DNP 4
(80)
2
(100)
2
(50)
T31
(9.5)
DNP DNP DNP
Adam Scott
(210 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T8
(50)
T4
(80)
4
(40)
T4
(40)
DNP DNP DNP
Ryan Moore
(196.5 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T2
(100)
T64
(0)
T8
(25)
T7
(27.5)
T53
(0)
Win
(44)
DNP
Patrick Reed
(186.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T24
(26)
T13
(37)
T5
(35)
Win
(66)
T22
(9.33)
DNP T11
(13)
Emiliano Grillo
(157.17 pts)
T26
(24)
DNP DNP T10
(40)
T32
(18)
T33
(8.5)
T2
(50)
DNP DNP T8
(16.67)
Kevin Na
(150.5 pts)
7
(55)
DNP DNP 29
(21)
T20
(30)
T11
(19.5)
CUT
(-5)
T10
(13.33)
T8
(16.67)
DNP
Brendan Steele
(146 pts)
Win
(132)
DNP DNP DNP T64
(0)
72
(0)
T22
(14)
DNP DNP DNP
Justin Thomas
(139.67 pts)
T8
(50)
DNP DNP T6
(60)
T32
(18)
CUT
(-5)
T10
(20)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP
Hideki Matsuyama
(138.5 pts)
DNP DNP DNP 5
(70)
T24
(26)
T15
(17.5)
CUT
(-5)
T3
(30)
DNP DNP
Kevin Chappell
(134.5 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T2
(100)
T61
(0)
T8
(25)
T31
(9.5)
DNP DNP DNP
Scott Piercy
(130 pts)
T3
(90)
DNP DNP DNP T24
(26)
T53
(0)
T22
(14)
T63
(0)
DNP DNP
Si Woo Kim
(126.5 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T10
(40)
T20
(30)
T15
(17.5)
CUT
(-5)
Win
(44)
DNP DNP
Gary Woodland
(120.17 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T10
(40)
T24
(26)
T15
(17.5)
T4
(40)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Daniel Berger
(79.5 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T15
(35)
T10
(40)
T41
(4.5)
T70
(0)
DNP DNP DNP
Russell Knox
(77.5 pts)
DNP DNP DNP 23
(27)
T17
(33)
T15
(17.5)
T60
(0)
DNP DNP DNP
Jamie Lovemark
(67.33 pts)
T20
(30)
DNP DNP DNP T32
(18)
71
(0)
T22
(14)
DNP T34
(5.33)
DNP
Rafael Cabrera-Bello
(65.67 pts)
DNP DNP T31
(19)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T5
(23.33)
DNP T5
(23.33)
Jhonattan Vegas
(64.83 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP T24
(26)
T24
(26)
T33
(8.5)
T22
(14)
DNP DNP T50
(0.33)
Tony Finau
(56 pts)
T26
(24)
DNP DNP DNP T66
(0)
T24
(13)
12
(19)
DNP DNP DNP
Billy Hurley III
(54.33 pts)
T34
(16)
DNP DNP DNP T42
(8)
T8
(25)
T64
(0)
DNP T34
(5.33)
DNP
Kevin Kisner
(51.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP 26
(24)
T39
(11)
T46
(2)
T48
(1)
T10
(13.33)
DNP DNP
Jim Herman
(48.5 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T24
(26)
T33
(8.5)
T22
(14)
DNP DNP DNP
Brian Harman
(47.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP T13
(37)
T24
(13)
T22
(14)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
James Hahn
(46 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP T24
(26)
T5
(35)
CUT
(-5)
DNP DNP DNP
Alex Cejka
(42.17 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T11
(19.5)
T24
(13)
DNP DNP T21
(9.67)

How Player Rankings are Computed

Who’s Not Hot in the field for the CIMB Classic

Player Safeway Open British Masters Dunhill Links Championship Tour Championship BMW Championship Deutsche Bank Barclays Classic Wyndham Championship John Deere Olympic Men’s Golf
Daniel Summerhays
(-23.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP 68
(0)
CUT
(-5)
CUT
(-5)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Mark Hubbard
(-21.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-5)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Spencer Levin
(-20 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T57
(0)
CUT
(-5)
WD
(-1.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Soomin Lee
(-20 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Colt Knost
(-20 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-5)
CUT
(-5)
DNP DNP DNP
Cameron Tringale
(-18.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-5)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP
Tyrone Van Aswegen
(-13.83 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-5)
T41
(4.5)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Zac Blair
(-10 pts)
T62
(0)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP T74
(0)
DNP T56
(0)
DNP
K.J. Choi
(-10 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-5)
CUT
(-5)
DNP DNP DNP
Gavin Green
(-9 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP 47
(1)

How Player Rankings are Computed

The Buzz:

Since they started this wrap-around scheduling on the PGA Tour in 2014, the CIMB has always been followed by the Safeway and Las Vegas.  In a change, only the Safeway was played so we had a limited look at some of the recent graduates from the Web.Com Tour.  Last year those two events were won by Web.Com Tour graduates, first Emiliano Grillo at the Safeway and then Smylie Kaufman at the Shriners Las Vegas.  This year Web.Com grads didn’t fare well at the Safeway, the only grad in the top-13 was Cody Gribble, who is a 26-year-old from Dallas, Texas.  Gribble hasn’t done that much, he has played the last two years on the Web.Com Tour and was 27th on the money list in 2015 and 53rd in 2016.  Gribble was one of those lucky players when the Web.Com Tour Championship was cancelled due to Hurricane Matthew.  He had finished T-5th at the Nationwide Children’s thanks to a final round 67 and with that finish climbed to 24th on the Finals rank.  So when the last event got cancelled he was lucky because he didn’t have to play well to save his card.

In looking at Gribble his stats are in the mid-level of the Web.Com tour.  He was 51st in driving distance, 91st in Driving accuracy and 74th in Greens hit.  His scoring average was 75th with a 70.40 average.  If there is one stat that comes through as positive, he was 59th in putting average.  In looking at his stats at Safeway were he finished T-8th, he was 13th in Strokes Gained Putting, gaining 5.679 shots.  In the rest of the stats, he is about average so what does this mean?  He needs to work harder on his game, since he is 40th on the priority ranking he needs to play well to get into more events.  His next start will be next week at the Sanderson Farms Championship and he could really need another top-ten to get him going or he will have troubles getting into some of the west coast swing events in January.  I honesty can’t say he is a player to watch in the future.

Safeway winner Brendan Steele

A player that pops up every now and then, he has always been pretty reliable from tee to green, but once on the greens he has struggled.  He came out on tour with the belly putter and won the 2010 Web.Com Tour Championship and then the 2011 Valero Texas Open with the long putter.  On tour he held his own with the long putter but with the advent of the rules on long putters, he switched to the short putter at the 2014 Travelers.  He found some short term success, the first time with the short putter at the Travelers he shot 62 and went on to finish T-5th.  The next week things looked good again as he finished T-5th, but the fix was short term.  He finished the year 73rd in Strokes Gained putting, which was able average for him.

But the short putter was a struggle afterwards, in 2015 he was 121st and in 2016 was T149th.  His ranking in the FedEx Cup stayed the same for those years, but that was thanks to drastically improved ball striking.  Last year he started working with Chris Mason in San Diego on his putting and he noticed that he started doing better on putts inside 10 feet.  Last year he ranked T-59th in putting inside 10 feet and T-40th on putts between 4 and 8 feet.  In 2015 he was 146th inside 10 feet and 122nd on putts between 4 and 8 feet.  So that is something to think about Steele in 2017.

One thing that was important in his Safeway victory, the poor weather and how he was on the good side of the early round draw.  He only had to play 9 holes in the rain on Friday and played 27 holes in good weather.  With the rain delay on Friday he was able to enjoy a trip to French Laundry, a famous Napa restaurant in which he was able to enjoy himself and indulge on some good wine and food.

Still Steele played well over the weekend, playing his final 36 holes in 12 under par, compared to 6 under in his first two rounds.  In his final round 65 Steele made five putts over 8 feet and showed that his steady play with the short stick can now take him a long way.

So what does this mean in the future?  We have to watch Steele and in looking at this link of his 8 year glance we can see that the California kid shines on the west coast so just remember him when the tour moves to Palm Springs.

Anybody else sticks out from Safeway?

Watch Patton Kizzire when the tour moves to the Sanderson Farms and Shiners.  He had a pair of top-4s in those events last year and with his 2nd place finish at the Safeway you know that it will be an interesting fall swing for him.

Paul Casey finished T-3rd and Kevin Na finished 7th and both boarded a plane for the 8,300 mile trip to Malaysia to play in the CIMB.  Leaving on Sunday night they won’t get to Malaysia until late Tuesday evening so they will only have a day to not only get use to the time change but the change to hot, humid weather.  So does this mean they can’t win, no, it’s just going to be a tougher slug for both.

Scott Piercy

He too is making the trip to Malaysia but his 24 hour journey had to be mixed with disappointment after shooting a final round 73.  He had a poor front nine shooting 2 over, but fought back with birdies at the 10th, 11th and 12th but derailed with a bogey at 13.  He will play at the CIMB (he finished T-7th) and then next week in China were he finished T-35th and in looking at his chances, I am not very positive on him.

This week:

This week we will not see any Web.Com Tour graduate win.  Only 78 players are in the field and a dozen or so are off the Asian Tour.  Of the 65 others they were off the FedEx Cup point list for 2016 so in reality this is a pretty good event for players who don’t mind a bit of hassle. Making things even tougher, for those that played on Sunday at Napa they will have to endure a close to 24 hour flight of 8,300 miles from San Francisco to Kuala Lumpur.  With the 9 hour time change and going over the international dateline that means you would get in about midnight Tuesday night/Wednesday morning.  Between that and a major dose of jet-lag, I would say that it will be tough for those that play on Sunday in Napa.  Still for the winner it’s a cool $1.2 million, if you finish inside the top-20 you get just over $100,000.  Even for those that finish at the bottom, last place pays $13,160 not a bad check for a week spent in Malaysia.

Course information:

(Limited stats so no fantasy course stats)

This will be the fourth year that this event is being played at Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club.  The first three years of this event was played at The Mines Resort.  So for many in the field they won’t have much of an advantage or even see the course before this week.  But for those that played on the European Tour Kuala Lumpur Golf & C.C. has been used in the Maybank Malaysian Open  which ended it’s 15 year run in 2013 with Kiradech Aphibarnrat winning.  Kuala Lumpur is very popular, a work horse on professional tours, the week after it will be the site of the LPGA Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia which was won by Jessica Korda last year.  So the course has the background for holding professional events.

The course lies just seven miles from downtown Kuala Lumpur and is part of a 36 hole complex that was opened in 1991.  Both the West and East course opened in 1991 and after the 2006 Malaysian was played on the west course, it underwent a total redesign.  Ted and Geoff Parslow of design firm E&G Parslow and Associates extensively reconstructed the layout over a period of eighteen months. The revamped West course reopened in October 2008 and a couple of months later held the Malaysian Open.

Because of the hot and humid weather, a special type of grass that many pros haven’t seen is used on the course, Seashore Paspalum.   The grass gives the course the reputation as the best groomed course in Asia.  The course is very fair, what you see is what you get.  Built on the site of a former rubber estate the course has greens that  don’t have much undulation and average 6,500 square feet.  It’s got over 90 bunkers and seven lakes come into play on 10 holes but from past events held on it scores will be low, probably in the 15 to 18 under range for this week.  So look for a lot of birdies to be made and lot’s of good putting.

Here are some of the secrets of what it takes to play well at the CIMB Classic:

Key stat for the winner:

The biggest key is being able to survive what will be tough conditions weather wise.  Each day it’s going to be 90 degrees with over 60% humidity.  In looking at a weather report for the next week each day has a small chance of thunderstorms, mostly in the afternoon so it will take a special breed of player to win.  Look for a player that has lot’s of experience in playing in what could be considered Florida weather in July.  Patience will be important, the last couple of years has been tough and in the 2014 event heavy rain came down every day and they had to finish the tournament on Monday morning.

Here are some more key stats to look to for this week:

  • Past winners on this course seem to putt very well.  In looking at the last eight winners at Kuala Lumpur, Justin Thomas, Ryan Moore, Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Louis Oosthuizen, Matteo Manassero, Seung-Yul Noh and Charlie Wi do have one thing in commend, they don’t overpower the ball and rely on good putting.
  • Since the event is wide open with not many folks playing on this course, look at our who’s hot chart to see which player in the field has been playing the best of late.  On paper it would seem that those that come from Napa will have problems, but Ryan Moore won three years ago playing the week before in Las Vegas.  Still I would prefer a player like Adam Scott, Sergio Garcia and Branden Grace who didn’t have to rush getting to Malaysia and got use to the time change.

 

 

Who to watch for at the CIMB Classic

Best Bets:

Patrick Reed

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
T10 T26 T40

Course is good for him, he had some time to get use to weather and jet lag. First time playing since the Ryder Cup were he did well. Also, he will be in a big stretch playing mostly on the European Tour.

Adam Scott

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
2 T11

Came close to winning last year, he could be a favorite since he has had time to get use to the time change and humidity.

Ryan Moore

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
T10 Win Win WD T5

Plays well on this course, has been 48 under in his last 12 rounds. Also is not playing the week before and gave himself time to get use to the time change and harsh weather.

Best of the rest:

Paul Casey

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
T24 T37

Probably the best of those coming from Napa, he is playing really good right now.

Sergio Garcia

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
T24 T2 T11

Has had his moments on this course, he played well at the Ryder Cup and that could spill over to this week.

Kevin Na

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
T3 T2 T10 T21

Coming from Napa, he has a great record on this course playing it 38 under in his last 8 rounds.

Brendan Steele

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
T3 T25 T42

Another coming from Napa, he won at Silverado and will be playing in an event he played well in last year.

Solid contenders

Hideki Matsuyama

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
5 T21 T25

A person that shouldn’t be forgotten, he played well on the course last year and should do good this year.

Branden Grace

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
T17

Watch him, he likes hot, humid weather, has had some time off and could do very well this week.

Daniel Berger

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
T64

Guy will have a great 2017 and will start it by playing well this week.

Rafael Cabrera-Bello

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
First time playing in this event

Had a good Ryder Cup, he can be a story this week playing in this event for the first time.

Long shots that could come through:

Anirban Lahiri

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
T21 T52 T35 T26

Won the Maybank Malaysian Open on this course, very good longshot.

Gary Woodland

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
T56 T2 2

Has the length to attack this course.

Ryo Ishikawa

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
T35 T26

He could be the best pick for the week, has not played much in the last year but in his last four events in Japan in the last two months has finished 1st, T-2nd, 3rd and T-7th last week in the Japan Open.

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