The new PGA Tour season crosses over to Malaysia this week for the ninth edition of the CIMB Classic. The West Course at TPC Kuala Lumpur is our host once again and while we still have some notable US absentees after a sapping Ryder Cup, the fields are starting to get stronger.
We came agonizingly close to an outright win in the Safeway Open as our pick, Brandt Snedeker, lost out in a playoff but our top 10 tip JB Holmes came home in ninth so let’s see if we can build on that this week.
Former CIMB Champion Justin Thomas is the highest ranked golfer on show this week and he leads the betting by the widest margin we have seen in 2018. He is +500 (5/1) an his nearest rival is 16/1 with the best bookies for American sports bettors. Thomas won here for two consecutive years and despite fading while in search of three-peat 12 months ago, he still averages a healthy 67 on this course.
Unlike most of his teammates, the 25 year old had a strong Ryder Cup and was the US’ leading points scorer so form and history are on his side.
The distant chasing pack is led by Ryan Moore and Billy Horschel who are locked at the same price of 16/1 with most sportsbooks. Moore has also won here twice with that last CIMB victory coming in 2014 and along with Snedeker, he pushed Kevin Tway all the way at the weekend.
Horschel’s record isn’t as strong and he is some way down the Power Rankings this week but form is there after a strong run in the FedEx play offs.
Next up is Xander Schauffele (18/1) who placed third in his first CIMB Classic last year. Then there is the consistent Paul Casey (22/1), who returns to the Tour after a solid Ryder Cup for Team Europe. Casey tied for seventh here in 2017 but concerns over a back issue might deter some punters.
Marc Leishman (+2800) also carries a mid-range price but has yet to repeat his form from 2017 while in Gary Woodland (20/1) and Keegan Bradley (25/1), we have two previous runners up in this tournament. Bradley came in as a solo second to Pat Perez 12 months ago while Woodland was a runner-up on two consecutive occasions from 2013.
Given that he started the Safeway Open at the head of the chasing pack, it is a surprise to see Brandt Snedeker (33/1) drop into the list of outsiders in the CIMB Classic betting odds this week. Sneds led after two days only to be caught and ultimately despatched by Tway in the playoff. His dip at the end of the four days would be a concern but he’s third in the Power Rankings and has to be an option in the top 10 betting markets at the very least.
Defending CIMB Classic champion Pat Perez (80/1) is way down the markets as is Kevin Tway (40/1), who is our most recent winner on Tour. JB Holmes (100/1) gave our picks that top 10 return on Sunday and all three need to be considered this week. Byeong Hun An, Kevin Chappell, Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Chez Reavie are also among a clutch of dangerous, yet inconsistent players and we will be coming back to at least one of those names in our top 10 suggestions.
CIMB Classic Predictions Verdict with Course Trends & Picks
The West Course at Kuala Lumpur is a par 72 but it is a relatively short one at just over 7,000 yards so there will be little advantage for the power hitters over four days. Water is the main hazard here and there are lakes in play on 13 holes and with plenty of rainfall around, the fairways and greens are receptive with little run.
Despite those obvious hazards, accuracy hasn’t been a key stat in recent years either: Greens in Regulation and form with the flatstick are generally the factors to look for. Extreme heat and subsequent fatigue could also be a factor so some will want to look for a golfer who is well rested.
Interestingly, although there have only been eight previous editions of the CIMB Classic, we have two multiple winners in Justin Thomas and Ryan Moore who have each taken the trophy twice and are in contention again for 2018.
Justin Thomas is a worthy and obvious favorite but we’re going for Ryan Moore this week who also has that strong history, the game to succeed and might just be the fresher of the two players in what is a test of stamina too. Moore to win along with these top 10 picks will hopefully lead to a profitable four days. So here are our CIMB Classic predictions: