Kuala Lumpur Golf & CC: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Par 72, 7,005 Yards
Defending Champion: Pat Perez (-24) by four over Keegan Bradley
Primary Stats- SG: Tee-to-Green, GIR, SG: Approach, DK Scoring, Par 5 SG, Birdies or Better
Secondary Stats- none
Timeframe: Past 24 Rounds
How about two swings for the price of one? The start of the Asian Swing, during the Fall Swing, starts this week with the CIMB Classic in Malaysia. 78 golfers will tee it up starting Wednesday Night, meaning roster lock is earlier than usual. Make sure you have your contests selcted early and your lineups in by that point.
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A few things to go over before the picks. First off is that this is a 78-man field, consisting of 68 PGA Tour pros and the Top 10 from this year's Asian Tour. Second, since there are only 78 golfers, there is no cut. Everyone is guaranteed four rounds unless they withdraw or are disqualified. Third, this is the first of three consecutive tournaments in Asia. This means for this week and the next two weeks, roster lock is on Wednesday Night: not Thursday morning. This week, roster lock is 8:00 pm EST.
With only 78 players, I'm only going to write-up one player per tier and mention others I'm considering. I have not looked at any ownership projections. I may wait until the last minute to make any changes based on ownership. If I do, I will update here Wednesday night before roster lock. Check back then if that interested. No promises though.
Justin Thomas (11,700)
This is not the strongest field we will see over the next three weeks. But, there is one player that is in a class of his own: Justin Thomas. I've seen his odds of winning here are 4.5/1; the lowest I've seen for a PGA Tour event. He won here in 2015 and 2016, before finishing 17th here last year. In the stat model, JT is #1 in Tee-to-Green, Birdies or Better, and DK Points. He's also #2 in Approach, #5 in Par 5 SG, and 11th in GIR. He will be popular, as there isn't anyone else in this range that's of the same class (Moore is also a 2x winner, Casey is probably next best golfer here, Horschel ended last season in great form, and Schauffele was 3rd a year ago here). So, if you are comfortable differentiating in the other 5 spots and can find the values you like, go for it. If not, or want to play a game theory fade, go for it. (Cash and GPP)
Others I May Consider: Ryan Moore, Xander Schauffele
Gary Woodland (9,700)
Woodland is one of the few to play this event every year for the past five years. He had back-to-back runner up finishes in 2013 and 2014 (lost to Ryan Moore both times) and finished last season strong with and 12th at the BMW and 11th at the Tour Championship. Woodland ranks in the Top 10 in every stat this week, with his best being 1st in Par 5 SG, 2nd in Birdies or Better, and 3rd in DK Points. Recent history hasn't been great, but he had a nice 2017-2018 season, with a win in Phoenix, and was trending in the right direction at the end of the season. Everything seems to fit well for Woodland here this week. (Cash and GPP)
Others I May Consider: Keegan Bradley, Brandt Snedeker, Rafa Cabrera-Bello
Byeong Hun-An (8,800)
I don't really love the 8k range, but An is someone I am considering. A 39th two years ago isn't all that great, but I think he's a better player now than he was then. His biggest problem down the stretch was his putter, where he was losing 5 or more strokes consistently. He was pretty good Tee-to-Green, so I'm hoping his putter can be average. An is 4th Tee-to-Green, 6th in Approach, and 8th in GIR. I like his upside, so I will limit him to tournaments only. (GPP)
Others I May Consider: C.T. Pan
Stewart Cink (7,200)
Cink had and up and down season a year ago. After three Top 10s in six starts, Cink faded at the end of last season with a 62nd and Missed Cut. However, the putter let him down. Cink has also found some success in Malaysia, with three Top 20 finishes the past four years. Cink ranks 5th Tee-to-Green, 7th in DK Points, and 9th in Approach. A top 20 with decent DK Points would more than pay off his cheap salary, and I'm hoping he goes overlooked with some other options around him. (Cash and GPP)
Others I May Consider: Sam Ryder, Thomas Pieters, Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Abraham Ancer, Joel Dahmen
No Main Writeup
Others I May Consider: Keith Mitchell, Troy Merritt
In a no-cut event, don't be afraid to take an extra upside guy, as they are guaranteed four rounds. Even if they find a way to get a couple of double bogies or worse, if they are upside players, they should get their fair share of birdies to end up scoring better than their finishing position. Don't forget about the Wednesday Night Lock. Good luck this week in all of your contests.