Now that the freshest crop of Web.com Tour graduates has broken the seal on the 2018-19 season, it's time for the most successful of returning PGA TOUR members to begin capitalizing on opportunities procured.
Beginning with this week's CIMB Classic in Malaysia and extending into next week's second annual THE CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES in South Korea, the top 60 available in the FedExCup standings from last season are exempt. While sponsor exemptions and members of the Asian Tour and KPGA will populate fields of 78 for each event, the FedExCuppers will serve as the majority of both.
Scroll beneath the ranking for details on the comprehensive renovation that TPC Kuala Lumpur underwent since last year's CIMB Classic, what it's taken to contend on the course in its five-year history as host and more.
Tuesday's Insider will include defending champion Pat Perez, Louis Oosthuizen, Kevin Na and Kiradech Aphibarnrat among other notables.
Because the first two events of the three-week Asian Swing are limited-field invitationals, Web.com Tour grads have known that they'd have this time off before the Sanderson Farms Championship on Oct. 25-28. For the busiest of the grads, this is their first break of this length since early April.
For those qualified and committed to either of the next three tournaments (including the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions in China the same week as the Sanderson Farms Championship), the transpacific trip guarantees FedExCup points and earnings as there are no cuts.
TPC Kuala Lumpur presents the first test. It's a stock par 72 tipping at just 7,005 yards. Although last year's scoring average of 70.663 registered a three-year high, it's been one of the most gettable tracks of the season. However, how it scores this week remains to be seen.
All paspalum grass has been replaced with bermudagrass. The combination of Celebration tees and fairways with TifEagle greens replicates the agronomy at TPC Sawgrass, for example. Hot and humid conditions with the omnipresent threat of rain and storms will cap Stimpmeter readings at 12 feet, while TOUR-average targets may repel approaches until mature. Still, with rough no longer than two-and-a-half inches and perennially soft conditions, low scores are projected in these climes.
Pat Perez aims to become the third consecutive two-time defending champion of the CIMB Classic. Ryan Moore (2013-14) and Justin Thomas (2015-16) preceded. Perez co-led his field in greens in regulation en route to 23-under 265, but he ranked outside the top 10 in both putts per GIR and birdies-or-better with the putter. With new putting surfaces, the premium of creating scoring opportunities rises.
ShotLink technology will not be utilized in any of the three events in Asia.
ROB BOLTON’S SCHEDULE
PGATOUR.COM’s Fantasy Insider Rob Bolton recaps and previews every tournament from numerous angles. Look for his following contributions as scheduled.
MONDAY: Rookie Ranking, Qualifiers, Reshuffle, Medical Extensions, Power Rankings
TUESDAY*: Sleepers, Fantasy Insider
WEDNESDAY: One & Done, Twitter live fantasy show
THURSDAY: Champions One & Done
* - 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.