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.
It’s also never too early to get a jump on your fellow competitors in your fantasy golf leagues. Whether you’re in a season-long competition with friends or participating in a one-week contest on one of the major sites, here’s a few guys to watch and consider when making your weekly line-up choices.
Henrik Stenson, Sweden (OWGR – 7) – The powerful Swede doesn’t have any recent history at this event, but for a player who needs to win more, this is a no-brainer. The 2014-2015 FedEx Cup runner-up should be able to take advantage of a less than stellar field and be in contention on Sunday.
Ryan Moore, USA (OWGR – 54) – If you believe in the concept of horses for courses, this should be a slam dunk. The winner of the 2013 and 2014 events played on this course, the 32-year old UNLV grad had a top 10 at the Frys.com, so should be in decent form to attempt the three-peat.
Kevin Na, USA (OWGR – 21) – Na gives you one of the tour’s hottest players (back-to-back runner-up finishes at the first two events of the season) combined with a proven track record at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club after his second place finish last year. Win number two seems inevitable.
Sergio Garcia, Spain (OWGR – 11) – The 2008 Player’s Champion plays for the first time since the BMW Championship, but showed last year he likes the course when he finished T2. Like Stenson and Na, another player who probably should win more than he does. Should at least be in the mix.
Patrick Reed, USA (OWGR -19) – A player capable of winning anywhere in the world, Reed will be looking to take his game to the next level this season and an early win would help. Showed good form by finishing T3 at last week’s HBS Hong Kong Open on the Asian Tour.
Paul Casey, England (OWGR – 24) – Like many players in this field it seems, Casey plays a lot of great golf but can’t seem to post the “W”. It’s actually hard to believe that the 2009 Shell Houston Open is his only PGA Tour win. But with eight top tens in 2015 already, he’s a good bet to not be too far off the lead.
Branden Grace, South Africa (OWGR – 22) – Snapped out of a quiet stretch after his 3rd place finish at the PGA Championship with a stellar 5-0-0 record at the President’s Cup. Three top twenty finishes in Majors last season, including Top fives at the PGA and U.S. Open. First event as full-time PGA Tour member.
Hideki Matsuyama, Japan – (OWGR -15) – A model of consistency with 18 Top 25’s in 22 starts so far in 2015, Matsuyama will be looking to take it to the next level in the 2015-2016 season. The 2014 Memorial is still his only U.S. win, but he strikes you as a guy who could win in bunches. Maybe it starts in Malaysia.
Gary Woodland, USA (OWGR – 41) – Woodland is one of the most underrated players on tour and has a great record at the CIMB Classic. Another player coming off a five-week layoff, the return should be aided by his comfort with the course, where he finished as a runner-up in both 2013 and 2014.
John Senden, Australia (OWGR -71) – One of those guys who always seems to be near the lead come the weekend, Senden has a pretty good record in this championship with three Top 20’s in the last four years including a 7th place finish in 2014.
Nick Watney, USA (OWGR – 111) – Watney has a track record in this event, winning it in 2012 when the championship was held at the Mines Resort and Golf Club. Still there’s something about the Malaysian air that seems to agree with him. Game seems solid after a T11 last week in Vegas.
David Hearn, Canada (OWGR – 112) – Posted a top 25 last week at the Shriners’ after an opening 64 gave him the first round lead. Seems poised for a first career win after a couple of near misses at The Greenbrier and the RBC Canadian Open last year.
Rory Sabbatini, South Africa (OWGR – 139) – Roared back with a final round 66 last week to nab a top 25 finish out of nothing at Summerlin. Could be coming around at just the right time for a run in Malaysia after finishing in a tie for eighth place here in 2014.
2015 CIMB Classic Tournament Information
Dates: October 29 – November 1
Purse: $ 7,000,000 ($ 1,260,000 winner’s share)
Host Course: Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club, Kuala Lumper, Malaysia
Course Overview: Par 72, 6,985 yards
Course Record: 63, Ryan Moore (2013)
Defending Champion: Ryan Moore
TV Broadcast Times: Golf Channel – Wed. Oct. 28: 10:30 pm – 2:30 am; Thu. Oct. 29: 10:30 pm – 2:30 am; Fri. Oct. 30: 11:00 pm – 3:00 am; Sat. Oct. 31: 11:00 am – 3:00 am (All Times ET)