Quick look at the CIMB Classic
October 10, 2018
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
Pat Perez on quality of field before CIMB
Ready for some overseas golf? The PGA TOUR’s Asian Swing begins with this week’s CIMB Classic in Malaysia, followed by tournaments in South Korea and China. Unique venues and cultural experiences await (as do late-night viewing opportunities on the Golf Channel!).
The 634-yard 18th is the most difficult par 5 on the course, playing to a stroke average of 4.763 last season. For most players, it’s a three-shot hole. Look for a back-right pin for Sunday’s final round.
Kuala Lumpur - No. 18
The 16th hole at TPC Kuala Lumpur is the easiest par 4 on the course, playing to a stroke average of 3.830 last year. That ranks in the top 10 percent of all easiest par 4s on the PGA TOUR. At 318 yards, it’s certainly drivable, although with water down the left side, it’s also potentially hazardous.An aerial look at No. 16 at TPC Kuala Lumpur.
From PGA TOUR meteorologist Willis Young: “A daily risk for showers and storms remain in the forecast each day through the week, although slightly drier atmospheric conditions Friday through Saturday could delay the onset of storms until the early evening hours and after play finishes. Light west to northwesterly winds are expected through the week.”
For the latest weather news from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, check out PGATOUR.COM’s Weather Hub.
SOUND CHECKI always feel it’s important to play in the fall because you don’t want to get too far behind.Even though I won it, I’m not going to put any extra pressure on myself to win it again.
BY THE NUMBERS
67 – Justin Thomas’ scoring average in 12 career rounds at the CIMB Classic. That’s the best average of any player with eight minimum rounds.
550 – Number of FedExCup points earned by Justin Rose last year during the Asian Swing. That’s the most of any player in a single year since 2013-14.
2 – Number of Malaysian players in the field – Ben Leong, who has a win and three other top 10s in his last seven starts; and Kim Leun Kwang, who qualified for the event by winning the CIMB National Championship in a playoff two weeks ago.
TPC Kuala Lumpur has undergone a makeover since last year’s event, with TifEagle Bermuda grass now on the greens and Celebration Bermuda on the fairways and tees. That’s identical to the grass used at TPC Sawgrass, home of THE PLAYERS Championship. “I can’t even get over how good it looks,” Justin Thomas said. “It’s not that I ever had any doubt; it’s just hard to do and it’s really hard to make it look as good as they have and be in as good of shape.”
It’s about a 750-mile flight from Bangkok, Thailand, where Kiradech Aphibarnrat was born, to Kuala Lumpur. Perhaps it’s fitting that his first start as an official PGA TOUR member comes so close to home. “It is such a good moment for me,” said Aphibarnat. “… It feel like home, especially the weather and people around, the golf fans.” The course should also be a comfortable one, as he won the Malaysian Open here in 2013 and also finished T-3 at the CIMB Classic that same year.
There are 19 Nando’s restaurants in Kuala Lumpur. It’s likely that defending champ Pat Perez will dine out at one of them this week. “Nando’s is fantastic,” Perez said about the chain that originated in South Africa.
Shubhankar Sharma leads the list of 10 players who qualified via the Asian Tour Order of Merit. He’s also one of four players from India in the field. “It just shows that we have so much depth now in golf,” Sharma said. “… It’s a limited-field event and four Indians playing, I think it’s absolutely great.”