The PGA Tour departs US shores this week for the CIMB Classic. It’s a co-sanctioned event with the Asian Tour which takes place in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur. At 6,951 yards, it’s not necessary to be a big hitter to tackle the par 72 TPC Kuala Lumpur West Course – instead, a system of eight lakes means that no fewer than 11 of the 18 holes play over or alongside water hazards. The five previous editions to be staged here have been won by just three men. Ryan Moore recorded back-to-back victories in 2013 and 2014 before Justin Thomas mounted a successful title defence in 2016. Pat Perez is the defending champion having won here by four shots 12 months ago.
CIMB Classic Favourites
As a two-time winner here and one of the few Americans to play well at the Ryder Cup, Thomas is the obvious favourite. Most bookmakers make him the 5/1* market leader. Having also won here twice, Moore is another strong candidate to go well in KL and the American is at 14/1* with Ladbrokes and Bet365, who have Billy Horschel third in the betting at best odds of 16/1*. Xander Schauffele narrowly missed out on a place in the American Ryder Cup team. But big things are expected of him over the coming years and he is at 18/1* with most firms here. Paul Casey has enjoyed a week off since celebrating victory at Le Golf National and the Englishman is at 20/1* with Ladbrokes and Coral.
CIMB Classic Tips
Cameron Smith hit the 32nd place in the world rankings when he posted back-to-back third-place finishes during the PGA Tour’s playoff series. The most recent of which came at the Dell Technologies event last month. A winner at the Australian PGA Championship, the 25-year-old has added greater consistency to his game in 2018. It’s also worth noting that some of his best results have come in tropical conditions. Paddy Power is paying best odds of 35/1* while they are also offering one-fifth odds down to seven places.
Danny Lee ended the last season with some strong performances, including a tie for sixth place at the Canadian Open, and began his 2018/19 campaign with a share of 10th place at the Safeway Open on Sunday, where he was just four shots off the pace on a congested leaderboard. The 28-year-old New Zealander was seventh here last year and 13th in 2014, while he was going fairly well when he was forced to withdraw the following year. He’s at 45/1* with Bet365.
Our final selection this week is a long shot who has a great record at this venue. But who has been going through a difficult period on the course. Brendan Steele closed the 2017/18 season. fHe finished 64th place in a 70-man event. His start to the new season has been a little more positive. He made the cut at the Safeway Open last week. But it is previous performances here that make him worth following. He was third on his first appearance in 2015, 13th last season and outside the top 25 in between. At 110/1* with Bet365, he’s an appealing each-way choice.
*All odds subject to change