Three straight Top 3 finishes to open the 2015-2016 PGA Tour season has moved Kevin Na into third place in the Razzball Fantasy Golf's PGA Tour Hot Index. He was 7th on the index entering the week. Na added a 3rd place finish at the CIMB Classic to his runner-up placings at the Frys.com and Shriners Hospitals for Children Open and is quickly closing the gap on top ranked Jason Day and #2 Henrik Stenson heading into the WGC HSBC Champions event in China. Day leads the index with 3,260 points, 524 points ahead of Stenson. Na has 2,240 points, 120 more than Masters and U.S. Open champion Jordan Spieth.
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Even though the PGA Tour was half a world away in Malaysia, there were still a few lessons for fantasy golf fans this week based on last week's play. Here are five things we learned this week:
1. A Second PGA Tour Win is Close for Kevin Na.Okay, he didn't win. Hell, he didn't even make a single birdie on the final eight holes, on a course that was giving away birdies faster than Billy Hamilton goes from first to third. But make no mistake, a PGA Tour win is in Kevin Na's not too distant future. Three consecutive top three finishes is amazing consistency and any pro will tell you the hardest thing about winning is actually putting yourself in a position to win. If you do it enough, winning just happens. That was the Jack Nicklaus' and Tiger Woods' philosophy for years. Na has shown he can do the first part, and it shouldn't be too long before he accomplishes part two.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - It wasn't easy. It wasn't even pretty. But Justin Thomas held on and now he's a PGA Tour champion. The 22-year old survived a double bogey on the 14th hole and made a character-testing six footer for par on the final hole to hold off former world number one, Adam Scott, and win the 2015 CIMB Classic by a single stroke. "I still can't believe what happened," Thomas said. "I made that par to clinch the title. I don't care how I got it done; it just feels awesome." The former University of Alabama star was seemingly in control of the tournament after an eagle on 10 and a birdie on the par 4 13th moved him to 25-under par for the tournament and five-under for the round. But then disaster struck on 14. But Thomas was not going to let that affect him. He bounced back with birdies on the next three holes before the closing par.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - One of the biggest stories of the 2015-2016 season, thus far, has been the incredibly consistent play of American Kevin Na. Coming off back-to-back runner-up finishes at the Frys.com Open and the Shriners Hospital for Children Open, Na put himself back in contention for another top finish, and maybe a second PGA Tour win, after a 64 on moving day on Saturday. The 32-year old also finished second at this event last year to two-time defending champion Ryan Moore. Na doesn't seemed too stressed about his current position or his record. "Eight times in my career I finished second. I've got to keep the streak alive. Worst case, I win, right?" joked Na. "I've been unlucky a few times. But you know what? The last few weeks I've never felt so comfortable coming down the stretch. I've been getting a lot of compliments from my friends and coaches and family members, friends, saying how comfortable I looked."
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - Justin Thomas shot a course-record 11-under par 61 on Friday to take a one-shot lead after 36 holes of the 2015 CIMB Classic in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. And it could have been even better. The 22-year old birdied the 14th and 15th holes to move to 11-under with three holes remaining, all potential birdie holes. So 59 was definitely within reach. "I would say after I birdied 14, 15, I knew I just needed to get, I guess, two of my last three," said Thomas following his round. "And then, I mean, they're all pretty easy holes. They're all wedge holes. So it was obviously unfortunate not to get that number (59), but I'm sure I'll have many more chances in my career." Overall the Louisville, Kentucky native had 9 birdies and an eagle on the par 5, third hole in a bogey-free round on the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club course. The low round gave Thomas a one-shot lead over Brendan Steele, who managed seven birdies and an eagle of his own in a round of 63. Both Thomas and Steele had opening nines of six-under par 30.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - American Scott Piercy got off to a fast start and never looked back. The San Diego State grad shot an opening round, 10 under par 62 to take a three-shot lead at the CIMB Classic in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Piercy, a native of Las Vegas, birdied his first three holes on his way to opening nine 31 that features 5 birdies and no bogies. He added five more birdies without a bogey on the inward nine for a matching 31. The leader is three shots clear of Japan's Hideki Matsuyama, he had eight birdies and a single bogey, on number 13, in his 7-under par 65. Five players are tied for third place after opening with 66 including Jason Gore, Alex Cejka, Cameron Smith, Charles Howell III and Keegan Bradley.
Defending Champion Off to Fast StartTwo time defending champion Ryan Moore and red-hot Kevin Na were in a group of eight players at 5-under par, 67. Moore, the winner of the event in 2013 and 2014 had six birdies and a single bogey in his round. Na, coming off back-to-back runner-up finishes at the Frys.com Open and the Shriners Open in Las Vegas, went bogey-free, capping his 67 with a birdie on the Par-5, 18th hole.
Jason Day continues to hold down the number one spot in Razzball Fantasy Golf's PGA Tour Hot Index after completion of the Shriners' Hospital for Children Open in Las Vegas. The 27-year old Australian leads the index with 4,100 points, a 768 point lead over the number two ranked Henrik Stenson of Sweden. 2015 FedEx Cup champion Jordan Spieth is third in the rankings. Kevin Na and Jason Bohn moved into the top 10 after back-to-back Top three finishes at the Shriners and Frys.com Open. Na is seventh in the rankings, while Bohn moves into the 10th spot. Shriners' Hospital for Children Open champion, Smylie Kaufmann, moves up to number 13 after a second consecutive Top 10 finish.
The race for the 2015-2016 FedEx Cup continues in Malaysia this week, with the playing of the 2015 CIMB Classic at Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club. The field for the $7,000,000, third leg of the year-long championship features a solid field of professionals, but only one player who ranks in the Top 10 of the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) entering play this week. The 78 players in the field will be trying to get a jump on the superstars of the game, earning some valuable points that could translate into a visit to East Lake for the Tour Championship in late September.