It was nice of Brendan Steele to successfully defend his title at the Safeway Open so that we could seamlessly segue into the next two-time defending champ.
That's the badge of honor worn by Justin Thomas at the CIMB Classic. He was the first of four winners last season who defended his title. Oddly enough, his pair of victories at TPC Kuala Lumpur followed Ryan Moore's consecutive wins to introduce the stock par 72 in Malaysia's capital in 2014 and 2015.
The CIMB Classic launches a three-week swing through Asia. From Malaysia to South Korea to China, each tournament is reserved for 78 golfers. None will feature a 36-hole cut.
Jason Dufner, Branden Grace, Adam Hadwin and Bud Cauley will be among the notables included in Tuesday's Fantasy Insider.
There's no secret to the objective at TPC Kuala Lumpur: sink putts. ShotLink isn't utilized overseas, but fancy formulas aren't required to respect Thomas' route to success. En route to hoisting the hardware both times, he led his fields in conversion percentage after hitting greens in regulation. He also ranked a respective first and fourth in fewest putts per GIR.
Moore authored similar performances, but TPC Kuala Lumpur wasn't yet the racetrack that Thomas looped in 26-under 262 in 2015 and 23-under 265 last year. (Moore scored 14-under 274 in 2013 and 17-under 271 in 2014.) With four par 5s and tipping at just 7,005 yards, it's one of the most vulnerable courses on the docket. Last year's field averaged 70.298, and that was over one-half stroke higher than the previous year.
Phenomenally manicured paspalum putting surfaces cater to the highest level of confidence when chasing deeply red numbers. With them running at about 11 feet on the Stimpmeter, everyone can open the throttle.
The Confidence Factor on Tuesday will expand on the analytics as well as spotlight which golfers in the field have fared well in previous visits.
Customarily warm and humid conditions await. The strongest risks of inclement weather bookend the tournaments. The absence of impactful wind will further contribute to low scoring.
ROB BOLTON’S WRITING SCHEDULE
PGATOUR.COM’s Fantasy Columnist Rob Bolton will be filing his usual staples leading up to this week’s event. Look for the following columns this week.
MONDAY: Rookie Ranking, Qualifiers, Reshuffle, Medical Extensions, Power Rankings
TUESDAY*: Sleepers, The Confidence Factor, Fantasy Insider
WEDNESDAY: One & Done
THURSDAY: Ownership Percentages in PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf and One & Done presented by SERVPRO
* - Rob is a member of the panel for PGATOUR.COM’s Expert Picks for PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf presented by SERVPRO, which also publishes on Tuesdays.