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October 21 2013

5:10 PM

Featured Groups: CIMB Classic

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Nick Watney will defend his title at the CIMB Classic.

By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM

This is a week of firsts at the CIMB Classic.

The tournament, which is in its fourth year, will offer FedExCup points for the first time as an official event on the PGA TOUR's 2013-2014 wrap-around schedule. Not to mention, the CIMB Classic is the first FedExCup event ever played in Asia.

And for the first time, too, the CIMB Classic will be played at Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club. The field has been expanded from 48 to 78 players, as well.

Here are some of the featured pairings for the first two rounds. Remember, Kuala Lumpur is 12 hours ahead of East Coast time so first-round coverage on the Golf Channel begins at 11 p.m. ET on Wednesday.

Keegan Bradley, Bubba Watson and Siddikur Rahman: Watson and Bradley are making their first appearances at the CIMB Classic. Bradley is competing for the first time since a successful appearance in The Presidents Cup while Watson is returning to action for the first time since tying for 24th at last month's BMW Championship. Rahman, who was nicknamed the "Tiger Woods of Bangladesh" has seven international victories and has played in the first three CIMB Classics.

Jimmy Walker, Ernie Els, Scott Hend:
Walker and Hend have each picked up victories this month -- Walker earning his first PGA TOUR win at the Frys.com Open two weeks ago and Hend taking the Venetian Macau Open on Sunday where Els tied for third. Els hasn't played in Malaysia since 2010 when he tied for fifth while Walker has a tie for 13th in his two appearances and Hend has played once.

Phil Mickelson, Nick Watney, Kiradech Aphibarnrat: Watney fired a sizzling 61 last year to come from four strokes off the pace and win the CIMB Classic but that round was shot on a different golf course. Mickelson, who last played at The Presidents Cup, is making his first appearance in Malaysia while Aphibarnrat, who is from Thailand, has a pair of top-25s in the two CIMB Classics he's played. 

Sergio Garcia, Rickie Fowler, Gaganjeet Bhullar:
Garcia makes his first appearance in the CIMB Classic after posting top-10s in two of his last three starts on TOUR. Fowler hasn't played since tying for 39th at the BMW Championship in mid-September but he did tie for fifth at the 2010 CIMB Classic. Bhullar, who is from India, tied for 10th in this tournament a year ago.




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