This week, The PGA makes it way to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for The 2019 CIMB Classic. TPC Kuala Lumpur (Par 72, 7,005 yards) is where this event will take place and it has been this tournament’s host course since 2013. Pat Perez was last year’s winner, finishing at -24, and all of the last three champs have shot -23 or better. Justin Thomas went back to back the two years before Perez, and Ryan Moore won the two prior to Thomas, showing you that both long and short hitters can take down this event. Just like last week, this is more of a second shot course. Outside of JT in 2016, all of the past five winners have ranked T13 or better in GIR at TPC Kuala Lumpur, with Perez leading the field a year ago.
As you can see from the low winning numbers, this is one of the easiest courses on tour. You must be an elite birdie maker and all of the last five champs of The CIMB Classic have led the field in birdies converted. Almost every hole at TPC Kuala Lumpur presents a scoring opportunity and I think it is wise to incorporate both par four and five scoring into your models this week. Lastly, to compete in this type of birdie fest, you obviously need to be putting it well. (each of the last five winners have been T9 or better in PPR) After the full field last week, there is only 78 golfers playing in The CIMB Classic and there will be no cut. The final thing I want to note is that since this is event is held in Asia, roster lock will be much earlier than usual, at 8:00 PM EST Wednesday night, October 10th. @Hunta512.
Justin Thomas: (11,700)
This is a hefty salary to pay, but Thomas is actually underpriced for his Vegas odds to win this week. He is the clear #1 favorite to capture a win, at 18.2%, compared to the next best odds, which are 6.7%. (Ryan Moore and Billy Horschel) In the history of DraftKings golf, there have been 16 PGA Tour players who have had a Vegas odd winning chance of 18% or better and the average salary for those players has been $12,700, showing us the clear discount we are getting with Thomas at $11,700. Also, those golfers are averaging 103.91 DK points in those events. Without a doubt, Thomas is the most talented player in this field and despite a small wrist injury, that he claimed was fine two weeks ago, he is coming into this week in exceptional form.
When comparing all of these golfer’s last 24 rounds, Thomas ranks 1st SG total, SGT2G, BOB%, P4 scoring, and DK points. Furthermore, he is 2nd in SG APP, 5th in BS, 5th in SG on P5s, and 18th in SGP. He has only missed one cut in the last 14 months, has an incredible tour best five wins, and has finished in the top ten 50% of the time in his last 28 starts. Oh, and to put the icing on the cake, Thomas won at TPC Kuala Lumpur in his first two tries, and has a solid T17 here last season. With nearly two weeks of rest, Thomas should be back to 100% and ready to start The 2019 season off with a win.
CT Pan: (8,000)
Pan was playing the best golf of his career at the end of last season. He made 12 of his last 13 cuts, finishing in the top 20 six times during this run. Additionally, he produced his only two top tens of the year in his final four events. (T2 at The Wyndham Championship and a T4 at The Dell Technologies Championship) In his last ten starts, he is averaging 3.9 strokes gained total and over his last 24 rounds, he ranks 10th in SGT2G, 7th in SG APP, 2nd in P4 scoring, and 12th in BOB%. His putting can be suspect, but he slightly improved towards the end of the year, gaining 0.5 strokes putting in his last ten events, vs the -0.4 he has averaged over his last 20 starts.
Last year was his first appearance in Malaysia, but he did just fine, with a T17 finish and ranking T5 in P4 scoring. Assuming he starts this season off in similar form to what we saw a few weeks ago, Pan should crack the top 20 once again. (40/1 via Bovada, which are the best odds of any player $8,000 and under)
Sam Ryder: (7,700)
Ryder was impressive at The Safeway Open, with a T4, which was his second highest finish on The PGA Tour. He has now made six cuts in a row and has three top tens in his last 14 tournaments. At The Safeway, he gained 10.4 strokes total, while ranking T9 in GIR and T3 in P4 scoring. Over the last three months (24 Rds), he has been great with his irons (4th in SG APP and 4th in GIR) and as a scorer (3rd in BOB%), especially on par fives. (2nd in SG on P5s)
This will be his debut at Kuala Lumpur, but that shouldn’t stop you at all from rostering this up and coming talent. In the best form we have seen from him as pro, Ryder has top ten upside at this birdie makers paradise.
Billy Horschel: (10,700) Horschel was simply outstanding in The FedEx Cup Playoffs. If you exclude his WD from The Dell Technologies Championship (illness, didn’t finish the first round), he finished T3, T3, and T2 in that order. From the start of his first Playoff event until now, Horschel ranks 1st in SG total, SGT2G, SG APP, GIR, BS, BOB%, and DK points. Oh, and he also ranks 3rd in SG on P4s, 4th in SG on P5s, and 3rd in SGP. All of this lead to him averaging an elite 9.5 total strokes gained per event. He was truly playing some remarkable golf and if Horschel can continue this form in anyway, he should be in contention come Sunday. (14/1 via Bovada, tied for second best odds)
Rafa Cabrera-Bello: (9,300) RCB strung together a nice run to close the 2018 season, making seven cuts in a row, with four top 20s. He is an accurate player, who can always produce birdies in bunches with his excellent work on the greens. (10th in BOB% and 9th in SGP over last 24 Rds) He has supplied a T10 the last two years at this track and I think another top ten is coming in this strong form.
Cameron Smith: (8,400) Smith was tremendous in these past FedEx Cup Playoffs, with a T3 at both The Northern Trust and Dell Technologies. He cooled down in the last two events (T65 then a T20), but it was still an impressive showing from the 25 year old in only his second playoff appearance. His game can be volatile, but when he’s hot, Smith can put up huge DraftKings scores, making him an ideal target for a no cut event. He has by far the best odds of any player under $9,000 and will be looking for his third top five in his fourth attempt at TPC Kaula Lumpur.
Stewart Cink: (7,200) Cink has three top tens and only one MC in his last seven starts. His tee to green game has been strong (9th in SG APP and 5th SGT2G) and so has been his par four play in his last 24 rounds. (5th in SG on P4s) In four career starts at The CIMB Classic, Cink has three finishes of T17 or better. He is a safe target, that should finish in the top 30.
Jason Kokrak: (7,100) Coming into this event, Kokrak has produced five top 25s in his last eight starts. Even at this cheap of a salary, Kokrak ranks 6th in my model this week, when looking at everyone’s recent form. (last 24 Rds) In this time, he ranks 4th in GIR and 9th in BOB%. It’s odd he has never played here before, but the price is just too enticing for Kokrak on this track that fits his game.
Scott Stallings: (6,600) Stallings has three top 30s in his last seven events and has a solid average finish of 35th place in three career starts at TPC Kuala Lumpur. Over his last 12 rounds, he has been sticking greens at a high rate (7th in GIR) and a playing well on par fours. (14th in SG on P4s) With no cut, Stallings is a fine punt that could possibly squeeze out at top 35 in this weak field. (57th in total birdies last season)
*Please note that most of these rankings are from Fantasynational.com