CIMB Classic – Fantasy Golfanac

Course Details

TPC Kuala Lumpur in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
7,005 yards – Par 72 – Seashore Paspalum Greens
Course Architect: Nelson Howarth (1991); Resdesign by Parslow & Winter Golf Design (2007)

Green Sizes: 6,500 square feet… Average Green Size
Stimpmeter: 11 feet … Average Green Speeds
Strength of Field Rating: ~260 OWGR … Weaker Field Strength

Fairways Hit (Field Average): ~65% … Easier-than-Average Fairways to Hit
Greens in Regulation (Field Average): ~70% … Easy Greens to Hit

Tournament Angles

#1 Par 72 Courses
#2 Short Courses
#3 Seashore Paspalum
#4 No-Cut Events
#5 Easy-to-Hit Greens
#6 Easy Courses

Previous Winners

2016: Justin Thomas -23 over Hideki Matsuyama -20
2015: Justin Thomas -26 over Adam Scott -25
2014: Ryan Moore -17 over Kevin Na, Gary Woodland, Sergio Garcia -14
2013: Ryan Moore -14 over Gary Woodland in a playoff

54-Hole Leaders

2016: Anirban Lahiri -19
2015: Brendan Steele, Justin Thomas -20
2014: Ryan Moore, Kevin Na -12
2013: Ryan Moore, Chris Stroud -12

36-Hole Leaders

2016: Justin Thomas -14
2015: Justin Thomas -15
2014: Billy Hurley III -10
2013: Keegan Bradley -13

Important Interview Quotes

Q. Congratulations. After your first visit here, you obviously love the course, love the layout. What suits your eye?
It’s actually not even the course that suits my eye, it’s the greens. Mayakoba, where I won, has the same greens and I putted better than anybody there, too. So I don’t know what it is. It’s the grass. I don’t really see a lot of shots. I didn’t even hit that many good shots. I putted unbelievable really. I didn’t hit it that great, I just made a whole lot of putts and that saved me because if I didn’t putt well I probably would have finished 40th. -2017

Q. Third time now visiting the CIMB Classic. What brings you back every year? Apart from winning the first two times, what’s special about Malaysia?
I mean, it’s a place that I play well. I mean, it suits my game well. It’s a lot of wedges and I feel like I’m able to take advantage of my wedge game really well, I even did so this week. Like I said, I just didn’t make those putts like I was the past couple years. But I don’t know, it’s a welcoming feeling. Everyone here is very supportive, very nice. It really is a great event. -2017

Q. You’ve got a fantastic record here in Asia. The humidity, the heat, the conditions, they don’t really seem to affect you as much as others?
No. Well, I grew up in Brisbane. It’s kind of similar to this but obviously not as bad as this. But yeah, I enjoy the heat. I always play well in the heat for some reason, I honestly can’t tell you why. -2017

Q. What does this leave you with the strategy going into the next three rounds given you know guys are going to go low on this course? Do you need to be more
No, I don’t think it’s possible to be any more aggressive. You’ve got to play smart. As long as you’re on the fairway, we’ve got ball in hand all week so that helps as well because you can pretty much be assured of a clean ball and you can fire at the greens. Yeah, I think it’s going to be the same over the next three days and just try and make a bunch of putts. -2017

Q. Does this course seem to fit your game so far?
You know, I thought it didn’t, but I guess I’m hitting it in most of the fairways and I figure the greens would be kind of tough for me since they’re a little slow. I mean tough for everyone out here, but kind of managed to find some way to get it in the hole. -2017

Q. Can you elaborate on that comfort that you have here, the success that you’ve had?
Yeah, it’s hard to even figure out why, sometimes. There’s just a certain few golf courses a year that you just seem to play well on and this is one of them for me. I think that I read the greens pretty well, I putt pretty well on them, and I think I’m just comfortable with a lot of the tee shots and where to leave it and the approaches into the greens. -2015

Q. With the conditions being soft this week, is the putter the key?
You know what, you got to drive it in the fairway. You have to hit it good. Because if you don’t hit it in the fairway you can’t attack the pins.

So, it’s kind of a combination. It’s really — if you drive it in the fairway there’s a lot of birdie chances. If you don’t drive it in the fairway, you’re scrambling to hit it in the right spots to be able to just to make pars.

So, it’s really a golf course that you can get if you’re really playing well, but the golf course is also going to get you if you’re not.

So, I happened to miss it in the right spots when I did miss it. And I hit it in a lot of fairways, which really helps.

When you play lift, clean and place, I had my hand on the ball a lot today and so that makes a big difference. -2015

Q. Do you feel like these conditions, with the heat and everything, do they favor a certain type of player mentally or physically?
I love the heat. I grew up in Vegas, so I’m used to the heat. Maybe not the humidity like this, but some guys aren’t accustomed to it. I love it. So, it’s player to player, really. -2015

Q. Are you surprised to see 10-under score leading around here on day one?
Not really. I always thought this golf course is always quite a big advantage for guys who hit it quite far. And as I said this week the rough, it wasn’t that long, it’s going to be a pretty good scoring week here. -2015

Q. Can you share with us your thoughts about our golf course this year?
The course is good. The fairways are narrow. So it’s a shame that it rains as much as it does, but obviously there’s not a whole lot we can do about that. So, the course being soft definitely changes how it’s played. -2015

Q. The pitch marks on the green, playing as you did right at the end, does that make a difference?
It definitely does. Honestly, it depends a lot on the greens. These greens doesn’t spike up as easily as say like poa annua and/or bent greens or anything like that. But it’s just kind of the texture of the grass. They’re really not that soft, they have a good firmness underneath them, so it’s not like you see a lot of footprints or anything out there. Obviously you’re still going to get your spike marks and stuff like that. But everybody has to play with that. So you just kind of have to put that behind you. -2015

Q. Lastly, if you could, just some comments about the golf course and do you enjoy playing this golf course?
I love playing this golf course. I feel like the conditions are challenging. You definitely have to be in shape to walk the golf course in this humidity and the heat.

You have to hit a lot of great shots out there. A lot of great tee shots, put yourself in the fairway, to where you can lift, clean and place it.

When you’re off in the rough, you get fliers and the ball’s not stopping on the greens from the rough.

The greens are a little slow compared to PGA TOUR conditions, but they roll true. They do what they’re supposed to do, which is a credit to the greens staff, they’re doing a great job just maintaining the golf course in these conditions. -2015

Q. Obviously, wasn’t a third win in a row, but still a solid finish. Just overall thoughts on your week.
So, obviously, the conditions — rough wasn’t quite as long, greens were a little bit softer, and there just wasn’t a breath of wind for four straight days, so it was just optimum scoring conditions. -2015

Q. You’d say the keys are the fairways here do you feel?
Yeah, I think so. If you hit the fairway off the tee, then you’re going to have a good chance to get a shot close, but if you miss the fairway, the rough’s long and it’s thick, so it’s hard to play from the rough. -2014

Q. A few of the American guys are saying how hot it is playing in this heat. Do you feel you have an advantage?
Yeah. I used to this weather, and been playing around here and Singapore, it’s very hot. So a lot of advantage for Asian players who are playing on the Asian tour.
But you know, I think obviously the U.S. players, if you give them time to adjust, they will get used to it, but the player like in the U.S., also they’ve been playing in Asia a lot and I think they know how to manage to play with heat. -2014

Q. What is it about this golf course that you like?
It fits my eye, as normally I could struggle a little bit from the tee with my driver and so on, but here I feel really comfortable and can just smash the driver. And I mean the flight’s pretty long for me, so I can carry a few of the hazards here and there, and that makes it a little bit better for me. -2014

Q. What is it about this course you think suits your game?
A lot of different other courses, but I think very good advantage for the long hitter for the par 5s here. So I make six birdies on the par-5 last two days, and then just a few make birdie or bogey on par 3 or par 4. So I think very important make birdie or eagle on par-5. That’s the key to this course. -2014

Q. How much does experience count for you? You’ve played this course more than other players. Is that an advantage or once they play two, three rounds, they’re up where you are?
No, when I won here, I just play first time. So that’s not big deal. -2014

Q. What is it about this course that you enjoy? It suits you.
Yeah. It’s a position golf course. It’s not one you can overpower with length. I get it out there enough, but I feel like it makes a lot of guys kind of have to hit it in the places I would normally be hitting it kind of thing, so we play from a lot of the same spots. I mean you can try and take advantage of it with length, but it will bite you pretty quick if you do that. Like I said, I hit a lot of 3-woods, even 3-woods on some par 5s, and it’s just so important to be in the fairways. -2014

Q. So another good start for an event here in Malaysia for you. You were in a playoff last year, and you’ve continued your good play here. What is it about this course?
The golf course sets up good to my eye, you know. It’s one I feel like I can attack. The par 5s are all gettable. You get four opportunities with four par 5s. So if I drive the ball in play, I have a pretty good chance to be successful out there. -2014

Q. You’re a longer hitter. What are you hitting off the tee? Are you mainly irons?
Yeah, I’m playing pretty aggressive. The back nine, you know, the last four or five holes you’re hitting irons, but outside of that I’m hitting a lot of drivers, a lot of 3-woods.
The fairways, especially with how soft they are, they’re a little wider, so if you can drive the ball in play, you’re having a ton of wedges into the greens.
Fortunately today I drove the ball in the fairway and that was the big difference versus the first two days. -2014

Quotes found at unless otherwise noted.

Notes: Course also previously used on European Tour for Maybank Malysian Open. Climate is hot and sticky. Rough is often long and thick. Not a course you can overpower. Many golfers cite the importance of playing out of the fairway. Familiarity with course and/or region is big advantage. Course features water on 13 holes and plenty of elevation changes throughout.