This is a co-sanctioned event between the PGA Tour and the Asian Tour. It’s also a no cut event and essentially an invite only tournament. The field in this event cuts out at around 78 but the field is actually much higher in quality than the past few weeks. Some of the top players in the world make their way to Malaysia for this event and this year’s rendition has Henrik Stenson, Sergio Garcia and Adam Scott all headlining the field. As a no cut event all 70+ players will get in four rounds and so there’s no need to worry about potentially missing out on a good week if your players get off to a slow start.
Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club
Par 72, 6,900-7,000 yards
The Kuala Lumpur GCC has hosted this event since 2012 (the year it became an official PGA tour event). This course can be described as a short but extremely technical test of golf. There’s water in play on over half the holes and the greens are quite small and can be difficult to hit. The other issue with this course is the fact that the high humidity really plays a role in how the greens react and you’ll see many a player struggle with the different type of grass and green speeds this week. This 36 hole complex hosts a Euro Tour event (the Malaysian Open) and will definitely be a worthy test. Expect winning scores to be somewhere in the mid-teens as the players who are in good ball-striking form take advantage of the lack of length.
Last 3 Winners
– Both the first and the second place finishers from this event over the past two years have either ranked 11th or better in Driving accuracy or been within the top 50 on tour scrambling
– Both the first and second place finishers in this event over the past two years have ranked inside the top 50 in strokes gained-tee to green
1) Birdie Average
2) Strokes gained tee to green
4) All-around ranking
This course is a really interesting test not just because of the course but the climate too. Ryan Moore is an excellent all-around golfer, as are many of the people who have done well here over the past couple years. I think using the all-around stat this week makes sense to identify those who have the game to succeed here… This course also requires players take advantage of the easier holes and so birdie average is again a good barometer. Past winners and Top 5’ers at the CIMB have almost always ended their season highly in this stat… Finally it really seems like players who are great scramblers or are hitting the ball so well tee to green game that they don’t have to scramble, are the ones getting the results at this event. I like using both stats this week as strength in one area could be a great indicator for success.
Who’s had success at Kuala Lumpur GCC?
Ryan Moore needs no introduction. He’s won this event two years in a row, his only appearances at this course… definitely the lead horse for this course.
Kevin Na came here last year and took second in his first try. He also has great finishes at the Valspar Championship, a course which has some correlation to this weeks.
Gary Woodland definitely rivals Ryan Moore’s success at this course, in two appearances he’s finished second to Moore on both occasions.
Anirban Lahiri is a great young Indian player who has a top ten and a win at the aforementioned Malaysian Open, a Euro tour event which is held at this complex every year. He’s a great play this week.
Who’s struggled at Kuala Lumpur GCC?
Matt Jones had some strong finishes on tour last season but at this event the best he’s managed is 40th in two tries, not great.
David Lingmerth has a 39th and 64th here in two appearances, he’s still struggling to figure out this course too.
Patrick Reed has struggled in two appearances at the KL GCC, ending up with a 44th and a 26th in his two previous appearances. As a larger body he might have trouble with the humidity this week.
Marc Leishman might feel at home in the Southern hemisphere but he’s still never gone better than 39th at this course in two tries
With there being no cut this week the goal will be to ensure you fit in as many high upside plays as possible. While no players will miss the cut this week you’ll still need 6 golfers who finish inside the top 30 to give yourself a shot at a high finish. Be aggressive in creating rosters but make sure you research before adding in some lesser known players. There’s no point in going stars and scrubs if you’re fielding two or three players who will be near the bottom of the leaderboard all week.
My Winner: Danny Lee
I like that Lee has had some success on this course before and is coming into the event with loads of confidence after a great 2015 season. He was ranked 20th in the all-around category last year and I think he sets up extremely well for the course. He’s my pick and I think he’ll nab his second PGA win this week.
My Sleeper: John Senden
Senden played in his second fall series event last week and finished a strong 16th. Even better is the fact he already has a 7th place finish at this event and also has a win at the aforementioned Valspar Championship. He’s from the Southern hemisphere so the humidity might not bother him as much. I love him as an under the radar play.