October 22 2013
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
Bo Van Pelt is from Oklahoma so he's had no problem adjusting to the stifling heat and humidity of Malaysia.
At this year's CIMB Classic, though, the 2011 champ and last year's runner-up has to get comfortable on a new golf course.
Van Pelt set the 72-hole scoring record of 23 under when he won the CIMB Classic at The Mines Resort & Golf Club. A year later on the same course, he was tied for the third-round lead but ended up one shot back in second when Nick Watney blitzed the field with a 61.
But the tournament has moved to Kuala Lumpur Country Club this week for its first staging as an official PGA TOUR event with a full slate of FedExCup points available. Van Pelt. who is the tournament's leading money winner, hasn't played all 18 holes yet but he thinks the course will be a test.
"It looks like you need to drive the ball well," Van Pelt said. "The golf course looks tight off the tee where ... if you go offline, you can definitely get penalized. It looks like uphill and downhill there is a lot of change of elevation. So it's going to be critical to try to control your distances and get the distance right, which will be a challenge for everybody this week."
Besides, Van Pelt says momentum can be as important as memory. And the course is new to many of the players who compete primarily on the PGA TOUR.
"I liked the golf course here two years ago when I played, and last year was playing well at the end of the year, so I think that kind of helped," said van Pelt, who came to Malaysia in 2012 on the heels of a win in Australia. "So I think it's no different than any other guy out here.
"When you get playing well, it's a bit easier to stay on a roll. But, no, I think the combinations are great. The tournament did a great job the last two years kind of taking care of all of us. And I know this year isn't going to be any different. So you throw all of that in, and it's pretty easy to get adjusted."