CIMB Classic Picks, Sleepers and Preview
The CIMB Classic – Daily Fantasy Sports Preview
The CIMB Classic is an event sanctioned by both the PGA Tour and the Asian Tour. The event has been played since 2010, but last year saw the first time that the tournament was given official status on the PGA tour. This move meant that the event counted towards both the PGA tour money list and the Fedex Cup.
This week sees a limited field of just 78 players featuring a fascinating mix of the best of the PGA tour and the Asian tour. Fedex Cup winner Billy Horschel plays this week, alongside the Rookie of the Year in Chesson Hadley. Jason Dufner also plays after missing many tour events through injury, with European Ryder Cup winners Sergio Garcia and Lee Westwood also playing.
The Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club is 6,985 yards long and has a par of 72 and has been the home of tournaments on both the European Tour and the LPGA. The course record is 63, set by Ryan Moore when winning last year.
Last year Ryan Moore won the event in a playoff against Gary Woodland. The event had an incredibly congested leaderboard, with Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Chris Stroud just a shot back. Nick Watney won the event in 2012, a shot clear of Robert Garrigus and Bo van Pelt, Tiger Woods finishing two shots further back. Bo van Pelt and Ben Crane are the two other winners of this event.
Sergio Garcia – Garcia won the Qatar Masters back in January, and has done everything but win since. In that time he has finished in the top four six times, including the Players Championship, the Open Championship and a WGC event. In 2014 Garcia has had more top ten finishes than not, so Garcia ticks all boxes this week.
Gary Woodland – Woodland is one of the most solid players on the tour, having missed only one cut this year from 23 events. He finished last year with four good performances in the Fedex Cup playoffs – 13 th, 29th, 23rd and 9th, and plays this course well, having just missed out in a playoff last year.
Charl Schwartzel – This former Masters winner is in a solid, but not spectacular run of form, his last eleven tournaments seeing three top ten finishes and a couple of missed cuts. Schwartzel clearly likes this time of year, all of his three wins in the last two years coming late in the year, his game hitting a peak when the South African swing of the tour approaches. I can see Schwartzel going close this week.
Hideki Matsuyama – Matsuyama has started this Fedex Cup season well with top ten finishes at both of his events so far. This is a player who knows how to win, with five successes since last April – four on the Japanese tour and the Memorial Tournament. He will be looking to push on this season, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if Matsuyama breaks the top ten in the world at some point soon.
Patrick Reed – This is Reed’s first stroke play tournament since the Ryder Cup, where Reed would impress in an otherwise lackluster US team. Reed played the World Matchplay event in Europe two weeks ago and impressed in making the quarter finals, and will head to the tournament full of confidence – confidence being something that isn’t lacking in this player.
J B Holmes – Holmes enjoyed a return to the winners circle last year and saw his world ranking improve from a low of 509th to his current standing of 60 th. He ended the season with a 12th place finish in the BMW Championship and Holmes will look to continue this run of form on his
tour debut this season.
Carlos Ortiz – Sleeper – Ortiz gained his place on the PGA tour with three successes on the Web.com tour last season. This is a player who is very up and down, with a series of missed cuts to go alongside his win last year. His start to the season has been solid, making the cut in his first event and a top twenty finish in his second outing. Ortiz could be value this week.
Cameron Smith – Sleeper – Smith is a player unknown in the US, but a look at his form will certainly be an eye-opener. His last six events have been spread around the Asian, Japanese and Australia/New Zealand tour and all have seen him finish in the top ten. This 21 year old is making a name for himself and has worked his way from outside the 1000 in the world rankings to a career high 288th. He will go much, much higher.
Sergio Garcia has been installed as the early favorite for the event. Billy Horschel, Charl Schwartzel and Hideki Matsuyama sit in a group just behind these two players. Jason Dufner, Gary Woodland, Louis Oosthuizen and Ryan Moore are also seen to be in contention.