Welcome to GOLFstats.com! You are currently viewing one of our Preview and Picks post that we publish each week. We also publish special Performance Charts for the tournaments, analyzing results over the past 8 years, a special DraftKings Picks Post, analyzing what picks are the best this week for the DraftKings games, and we do a weekly Key Fantasy Stats Post detailing what stats are most important for this weeks tournament and course, and which players excel in those stats. Very useful!
Our data is updated daily. To access all this info, and so much more, just CLICK HERE to SIGN UP for GOLFstats!

BlogCIMB Classic Preview and Picks

CIMB Classic

October 12th – 15th, 2017

Kuala Lumpur Golf & C.C.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Par: 72 / Yardage: 6,985

Purse: $7 million7 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 34 of the top 100 and 14 of the top 50 in the latest Official World Rankings, with the highest rank player being #3 Hideki Matsuyama.  The other top 50 players are #4 Justin Thomas, #14 Paul Casey, #19 Rafael Cabrera Bello, #28 Charl Schwartzel, #31 Pat Perez, #32 Xander Schauffele, #33 Thomas Pieters, #35 Jason Dufner, #38 Jhonattan Vegas, #44 Branden Grace, #47 Brendan Steele, #48 Gary Woodland and #50 Adam Hadwin.

Last year there were 17 top 50 players were in the field.

The field includes 7 of the Top 25 on last year’s final FedEx point standings for 2017.  Those players includes #1 Justin Thomas, #3 Xander Schauffele, #8 Hideki Matsuyama, #11 Paul Casey, #15 Pat Perez, #23 Jhonattan Vegas and #24 Kyle Stanley.

The field includes 8 players in the top 25 on last year’s PGA Tour money list, #1 Justin Thomas, #4 Hideki Matsuyama, #11 Pat Perez, #12 Xander Schauffele, #17 Paul Casey, #19 Adam Hadwin, #21 Kyle Stanley and 22 Jason Dufner.

The field includes 2 past champions: Justin Thomas (2016) and Ben Crane (2010).

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 four years or check out our sortable 8-year glance at the CIMB Classic.

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

Another cheat sheet is this list of odds from the top bookmaker in Las Vegas.

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 Dunhill Links Web.com Tour Champ. British Masters Tour Champ. Portugal Masters BMW Champ. KLM Open European Masters Dell Tech. Northern Trust
Justin Thomas
(315 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP 2
(150)
DNP T47
(3)
DNP DNP Win
(132)
T6
(30)
Xander Schauffele
(244.5 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP Win
(198)
DNP T20
(30)
DNP DNP T53
(0)
T17
(16.5)
Paul Casey
(237 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP 5
(105)
DNP T33
(17)
DNP DNP T4
(80)
5
(35)
Pat Perez
(157 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP 16
(51)
DNP T12
(38)
DNP DNP T6
(60)
T34
(8)
Brendan Steele
(133 pts)
Win
(132)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T44
(6)
DNP DNP T56
(0)
CUT
(-5)
Gary Woodland
(96.5 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP 19
(46.5)
DNP T27
(23)
DNP DNP T18
(32)
CUT
(-5)
Chez Reavie
(95 pts)
T13
(37)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T12
(38)
DNP DNP T61
(0)
T10
(20)
Kyle Stanley
(85.5 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T20
(45)
DNP T47
(3)
DNP DNP T25
(25)
T25
(12.5)
Kevin Na
(83.5 pts)
T37
(13)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T53
(0)
DNP DNP T6
(60)
T29
(10.5)
Lucas Glover
(83 pts)
T30
(20)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T12
(38)
DNP DNP T30
(20)
T40
(5)
Adam Hadwin
(82.5 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP 23
(40.5)
DNP T40
(10)
DNP DNP T13
(37)
CUT
(-5)
Bud Cauley
(76 pts)
T7
(55)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T27
(23)
DNP DNP T47
(3)
CUT
(-5)
Ian Poulter
(76 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T11
(39)
DNP DNP T40
(10)
DNP DNP T23
(27)
66
(0)
Jhonattan Vegas
(75 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP 30
(30)
DNP T63
(0)
DNP DNP T65
(0)
T3
(45)
Grayson Murray
(70 pts)
T9
(45)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T51
(0)
DNP DNP T25
(25)
T62
(0)
Graham Delaet
(67.5 pts)
T5
(70)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T75
(0)
WD
(-2.5)
Hideki Matsuyama
(61 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T26
(36)
DNP T47
(3)
DNP DNP T23
(27)
CUT
(-5)
Emiliano Grillo
(60.5 pts)
T28
(22)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T58
(0)
DNP DNP 22
(28)
T29
(10.5)
Jason Dufner
(60 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T20
(45)
DNP T58
(0)
DNP DNP T69
(0)
T20
(15)
Charl Schwartzel
(58.5 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T27
(23)
DNP DNP T25
(25)
T29
(10.5)
Stewart Cink
(56 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T27
(23)
DNP DNP 12
(38)
CUT
(-5)
Luke List
(54 pts)
T37
(13)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T20
(30)
DNP DNP T47
(3)
T34
(8)
Hudson Swafford
(50.5 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T40
(10)
DNP DNP T13
(37)
T43
(3.5)
Scott Hend
(46.67 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP 2
(66.67)
DNP DNP
Rafael Cabrera-Bello
(44 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T33
(17)
DNP DNP T18
(32)
CUT
(-5)

How Player Rankings are Computed

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

Player Safeway Open Dunhill Links Web.com Tour Champ. British Masters Tour Champ. Portugal Masters BMW Champ. KLM Open European Masters Dell Tech. Northern Trust
Michael Kim
(-25 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-5)
Chris Stroud
(-25 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-5)
Danny Lee
(-20 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP WD
(-5)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-5)
S.S.P. Chawrasia
(-16.67 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T66
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP
Colt Knost
(-10 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
D.A. Points
(-10 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T54
(0)
Charles Howell III
(-10 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T67
(0)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
T62
(0)
Peter Uihlein
(-10 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Chad Campbell
(-10 pts)
68
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
T67
(0)
Ben Crane
(-10 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

The Buzz:

When they started the wrap-around schedule in 2014, nobody ever thought that many top players would play in the fall.  The only chance many thought was the WGC-HSBC in China, played the week after the CIMB.  Many questioned this event, again with the thought that who would fly halfway around the world to play in it.  This year the Asian part has expanded to three weeks, with the CJ Cup being added.  Frankly with all of the problems that we have been hearing with North Korea, I wonder how many folks will play in South Korea, but with a $9.25 million dollar purse and a $1.5 million first place payday, a lot of players are now playing all three events.  Another reason for players to go is endorsements, many have those with Asian and Japanese companies, gets them over there.

As for playing this week, for those in Napa it’s a tough go.  It’s 8,500 miles and with the time change, Malaysia is nine hours ahead of California so with the 12 hour flight, players would have to leave San Francisco on Sunday night just to get to Kuala Lumpur Tuesday night.  So that only leaves a day to get ready.  On top of that, the climate is a tough go as each day will be 90 and very high humidity.

So which players that did well at Safeway are in Malaysia?

Safeway winner Brendan Steele for one.  He again was a victory with birdies at 16 and 18 for the two shot win.  Now Steele did this last year and he finished T-26th with a final round 73.  So he will know what to do, last year it was obvious that the trip just caught up with him on Sunday.

Graham DeLaet is making the trip after finishing T-5th in Napa.  He probably had a lot of time on the flight over to think about his final round 72, which finished him 4 back of Steele.  Last year he finished T-8th at Safeway but didn’t make the journey.

Another player that will have a lot of time on the flight over to think is Bud Cauley.  He shot 74 in a round of 3 bogeys and one birdie to finish T-7th 5 shots back.  For Cauley he finished T-50th last year but didn’t make the flight over.  He has never played in Asia so it will be a new adventure for him.

This week:

This week we will one see just one Web.Com Tour graduate, Peter Uihlein.  Only 78 players are in the field and 10 are off the Asian Tour.  Of the 65 others they were off the FedEx Cup point list for 2017 so in reality this is a pretty good event for players who don’t mind the hassle on flying halfway around the world for a chance of a $1.2 million dollar payday. If you finish inside the top-20 you get just over $100,000.  Even for those that finish at the bottom, last place pays around $13,000 about the same cost of two business class tickets from the United States.

Course information:

This will be the fifth 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. was 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, two weeks after it will be the site of the LPGA Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia which was won by Shanshan Feng 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.

Let’s take a look at key stats that are important for those playing at TPC Kuala Lumpur:

This is based on the most vital stats from TPC Kuala Lumpur based on data from last year’s CIMB Classic and using data from all the players in the field with stats from 2017.
This is the fifth year that the CIMB Classic is being played at TPC Kuala Lumpur. With it played in Malaysia, we don’t have true Shotlink stats to work with, they don’t even measure driving distance so we are stuck with the old-fashion stats of fairways and greens hit, scrambling, number of putts, birdies and eagles made. The one thing to understand about this week, last year TPC Kuala Lumpur played to a 70.30 average which was a shot and three quarters under par as only six other courses on the PGA Tour were easier in 2017, with only two of those courses having full field events on a single course held on them.
So the course is very easy, it ranked 38th in fairways hit and since we don’t know driving distance we can surmise that bombers love this course. But that may not be true, Ryan Moore won the event in 2014 & ’13 and we can’t say that Moore is a bomber, matter of fact he is in the bottom 20% in driving distance so you can’t call Kuala Lumpur a bombers delight.

So what can we look at historically to help us find players that should do well this week? Looking at the field from last year, all of them hit six and a half out of ten fairways, a very high percentage. They also hit lot’s of greens, over 7 of 10. Of the greens that they missed they got it up and down 6 out of every 10 tries and averaged 29.29 putts per round. So it’s easy to see how each of the players in the field averaged 4.22 birdies per round and either made birdie or eagle on a quarter of the holes that they played. So frankly for the average pro, TPC Kuala Lumpur is a lay up.

So in looking at our four categories, we are going to do a weird thing and that is bring back the same categories as we used last week. So we pick Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green because it helps to drive it long and straight and hit lot’s of greens. These are all traits in helping one make lot’s of birdies and eagles. Next up we pick strokes gained around the green because not only scrambling but Sand saves are important on the greens that are missed from the fairway. Our third category that is important is putting, so we have picked strokes gained putting. Last is birdies as we pointed out lot’s of birdies are made on this course.

One thing to realize that that is not only a PGA Tour event, but also a Asian Tour event so there are ten players that are from that tour and will not have stats:
S.S.P. Chawrasia
Gavin Kyle Green
Scott Hend
Jazz Janewattananond
Phachara Khongwatmai
Richard T. Lee
Prayad Marksaeng
Juvic Pagunsen
Poom Saksansin
The odds of one of these Asian Tour member winning this week are very slim.

*Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green: Looks at the combination of length off the tee and accuracy, then getting the ball on the green so it determines who is best at all of these items.

*Strokes Gained Around-the-Green: Looks at the combination of gaining strokes by getting up and down after missing a green.

*Strokes Gained Putting: The number of putts a player takes from a specific distance is measured against a statistical baseline to determine the player’s strokes gained or lost on a hole.

*Birdies average: Players that make the most birdies averaged per rounds played

There is 60 of the 78 Players from this year’s field with stats from 2017

Click any column title in the table header to sort columns.

Here is the link to the other 70 of the 60 players and their PGA Tour stats for 2017.

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 70% 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 four years ago playing the week before in Las Vegas.  Still I would prefer a player like Justin Thomas who has won the last two years by not rushing getting to Malaysia and get use to the time change.

Who to watch for at the CIMB Classic

Best Bets:

Justin Thomas

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
Win Win

Have to go not only what has happened in the past but the way Thomas is playing now. He is 49 under in just 8 rounds, with only one round in the 70s. Have to think he owns this place and will get another win.

Hideki Matsuyama

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
2 5 T21 T25

He too has a great record at Kuala Lumpur as he is 53 under in 16 rounds on the course.

Brendan Steele

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T26 T3 T25 T42

Yes he is just off a two day journey to Malaysia, but he was a winner on Sunday and did finish T-3rd in 2016.

Best of the rest:

Paul Casey

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T21 T24 T37

Been playing great golf, only problem is that he can’t seem to win. But it could happen anytime.

Rafael Cabrera-Bello

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T10

Was T-10th last year, could be a good course for him.

Ian Poulter

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T17

Fall is important for him to play well and get back into the top-50 of the world rankings, he can start the move this week.

Stewart Cink

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T17 T56 T11 T13

Could 2018 be a year he returns to the winner circle? Has the tools, this is a great course for him.

Pat Perez

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T33 63 T33 9

Ended the year strong, he started 2017 with a win, could win early in 2018.

Solid contenders

Anirban Lahiri

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T3 T21 T52 T35 T26

I said that there is no chance of a Asian Tour player winning, Anirban use to play on the Asian Tour and has played a lot on.

Xander Schauffele

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
First time playing in this event

Looking to carry on his good play from the Tour Championship.

Graham Delaet

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
WD T7

Played well last week, did finish T-7th in 2014.

SiWoo Kim

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T10

Looking to get back on track, he was T-10th here last year.

Kevin Na

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T29 T3 T2 T10 T21

Was T-2nd in 2015 and T-3rd in 2016.

Long shots that could come through:

James Hahn

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
9 6 T56

Played well last two year is 35 under in his last 8 rounds at Kuala Lumpur.

Jamie Lovemark

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T39

Good putting could help him this week.

Lucas Glover

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T64 T37

Great ball striker has been playing good of late.

Speak Your Mind

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.