Par 72, 7,005 yards
The PGA Tour travels to Malaysia this week for the CIMB Classic. This is the fifth time Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club is hosting the event and has also played host to the Malaysian Open on the European Tour for the last seven years.
The event took place for the first time back in 2010 at The Mines Resort and Country Club in Selangor, which is located just outside Kuala Lumpur where Ben Crane was crowned the winner on 18 under par. Previous winners include Justin Thomas (2015 and 2016) and Ryan Moore (2014 & 2013).
The course is a short par 72 measuring 7,005 yards and has four very make-able par 5’s, four par 3’s and 10 par 4’s. The fairways are fairly forgiving so accuracy won’t be too much of an issue. The greens here are paspalum and are large, undulating and guarded by lots of bunkers so good scrambling will be required. Water is in play on 13 holes and will present some risk reward shots especially on the par 5’s and some of the short par 4’s. There is only a field of 78 players and there is no cut after 36 holes.
Statistically, players that putt well and hit a lot of greens tend to go well on this course. The main areas of focus are current/previous form, GIR, strokes gained tee to green and strokes gained putting. The weather is a bit mixed with rain forecast on Thursday but it should be dry for the rest of the week. The rain will make this course quite soft so expect the greens to be quite receptive.
The South African has a decent record in this neck of the woods over the years and comes here on the back of a respectable performance in the FedEx Cup Playoffs. He finished T24 at the WGC Bridgestone and followed that with a T29 at the Northern Trust, T25 at the Dell Technologies Championship and a T27 at the BMW. He had a couple of standout performances earlier in the season where he finished solo third at the Masters and an impressive T2 at the FedEx St Jude Classic.
Schwartzel has a decent record here finishing T19 in 2014 which included a pair of 68’s over the weekend, 11th in 2011 Malaysian Open, sixth in the 2012 Malaysian Open, fourth in the 2013 Malaysian Open. He was averaging just under 300 yards off the tee on the PGA Tour last season and has the length to take full advantage of the short par 5’s.
Englishman Poulter looks a decent shout here this week and its easy to see why when you consider his glowing record in Asia over the last few years. He finished T6 in the Singapore Open in 2010 and followed that with a win in Hong Kong the following week. He also finished T4 in Hong Kong in 2011, solo fourth in Lake Malaren in Shanghai at the BMW Masters in 2012 and a win at the WGC HSBC Champions in Shanghai in 2012 in a top class field. Poulter has only played here only once before finishing T17 which included three rounds of 69 or better.
His current form has been decent finishing T2 at the Players Championship, T14 at The Open, solo third at the Canadian Open, a respectable T22 at the PGA and a T11 at the British Masters. He seems to be hitting the ball well lately and has the short game and putting prowess to have a good week here.
Na has been playing good golf over the last two months. He comes here on the back of a T37 at the Safeway but that doesn’t accurately reflect how he played for most of the tournament. He started very well shooting rounds of 70,71,66 and was well positioned going into round four but a triple bogey on the ninth and a double on the 10th ruined his chances which led to a disappointing 77.
Na played very well towards the end of the season finishing T4 at the Wyndham, which included four rounds of 68 or better, a T29 at the Northern Trust and an impressive T6 at the Dell Technologies Championship which included four rounds of 70 or better.
The American has a great record here in Malaysia finishing T2 in 2014, T3 in 2015 and a respectable T29 last year. In his last 12 competitive rounds here at KL Country Club, Na has shot no worse than a 70 eleven times and has a combined score of 47 under par in total in three appearances. He is a real horse for the course and with solid current form, he looks good value each way at 33/1.
Scott Hend 80/1
The big hitting Aussie looks in great shape coming to Malaysia and has been showing some good form over the last few weeks. Hend had a decent performance at the Fiji International finishing T24 and followed that with a super performance at the European Masters, which included an opening round 64 and a second round 63. He ended up in a playoff with Englishman Matt Fitzpatrick but lost on the first playoff hole and finished solo second. He then travelled to the Albertsons Boise Open in LA and posed a respectable 10 under par total to finish T17 for the week.
The Aussie has a great record here at KL Country Club finishing T7 in this event last year, T27 in 2015, T14 at the 2015 Malaysian Open, T18 at the 2014 Malaysian Open and T11 at the 2012 Malaysian Open. Hend has a great record in Asia over the last few years and hits the ball an average of just over 300 yards which will suit here. With his current form and length, he looks great value and has the firepower to take full advantage of these short par 5’s.
Final Selections –
Charl Schwartzel 28/1 1pt EW
Ian Poulter 28/1 0.5pts EW
Kevin Na 33/1 0.5pts EW
Scott Hend 80/1 0.5pts EW
Total staked = 5pts
Good luck and enjoy the golf.
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