PGA Wagering: Five Players That Could Win the CIMB Open
The PGA Tour heads east this week, as in the Far East – all the way out to Asia – for the beginning of the Malaysia, Korea and China swing of the PGA Tour. Perhaps it is some late year fatigue, or perhaps it is the intensity of the travel (or maybe it is just the extreme amount of money the top players earn these days), but for whatever reason, it isn’t the greatest field making the trip. A lot of familiar names will be absent, but that doesn’t mean we don’t still have a nice golf tournament teeing up from October 12th-15th.
This weeks event will take place in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia at the Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club, West Course. The course is a Par 72, 7,005-yard spread and should challenge the pros over the next four days. , if you’d like to see the layout. The course will challenge the players, but not in a “US Open” kind of way – it will challenge them in that it will be a furious race to stack up birdies (and an occasional eagle). The past seven winners have been an average of more than -20 under for the tournament, with the past two years, both won by Justin Thomas, carding a ridiculous -23 and -26 respectively. And lest you think that a score in the -20’s ran away and hid from the field, not so fast. Last year, Thomas won by just three strokes over Hideki Matsuyama, and the year before his insane -26 was only one shot better than Adam Scott.
Scores will be low, which makes it a fun tournament to watch and a fun tournament from a Fantasy Golf perspective. Here’s a look at the outright odds to win the CIMB Open.
ODDS TO WIN THE 2017 CIMB OPEN:
- Justin Thomas +450
- Hideki Matsuyama +900
- Paul Casey +1200
- Brendan Steele +2800
- Xander Schauffele +2800
- Charl Schwartzel +2800
- Gary Woodland +2500
- Kevin Na +3300
- Ian Poulter +3300
- Branden Grace +3500
- Jason Dufner +5000
- Keegan Bradley +7000
- Jamie Lovemark +6600
- Lucas Glover +8000
#1. Justin Thomas
The favorite here is obvious, and for good reason. The 2016 PGA Tour Player of the Year has never NOT won this tournament, carding a combined -49 in eight rounds, and coming back for more this year. He is seeking to become just the fourth player since 1950 to win a PGA Tour event in his first three starts (1999-2001 Tiger Woods at the Bridgestone Invitational) and there seems to be little reason to bet against Thomas.
A three-peat seems like the most likely result and has some decent value even at the slim odds of just +450. It is a 78-person field, but it isn’t the same crowd that Thomas faces on a weekly basis in the United States. Thomas isn’t just a two-time winner at TPC Kuala Lumpur – in as many tries – but he also fits the profile for success on this course. He hits it far and makes lots of birdies. A win this week will likely require going really low, but that should be no problem for Justin. In eight rounds on this course, he has only one round out of the 60’s.
#2. Keegan Bradley
I love the punt play value of +7000 here with Bradley. The 2011 PGA champion showed some signs of improved play toward the end of the 2016-17 season, making it to the BMW Championship in the FedEx playoffs. He recently missed the cut at the Safeway Open, but it was his first missed cut since the Memorial Open.
He finished sixth at this event last year, so has some familiarity with the course. In his past three appearances at the CIMB in Malaysia, he has two top-10 finishes. This is a course that is forgiving with the putter, which makes it a perfect fit for Bradley. This course takes his ball-striking which will give him a chance to score. It is a lighter field, so perhaps Bradley can find some footing early and make a nice run.
#3. Hideki Matsuyama
Matsuyama is never a bad play these days. Hideki was the runner-up last year, and don’t be surprised if he finishes the deal this year. He is one of the best scorers in the field, and he, along with a few others, have the Tour officially on “59 watch.” This course gives up some scores. Two years ago Thomas recorded a 61 en route to his victory. Matsuyama is one of a few players who will be chasing that mark on the relatively short 7,005-yard track.
Matsuyama is the third-ranked player in the world, and one of only two Top 25 players in the field. It makes his price of +900 a really nice value and one of the best plays on the board this weekend.
#4. Kevin Na
This is another longer value at +3300, but there might be something to this wager. Na can be a frustrating fantasy play due to his erratic nature; either in contention or on the wrong side of the cut line with dizzying irregularity for a player of his talent level. However, if he IS on his game, he has a shot to do some damage on this course. This week is a no-cut event, so he should go the distance. Perhaps he can put together a nice run again in 2017? His top-5 finishes in 2015 and 2016 show that it is more than possible. If he can build off his decent start last week at the Safeway Open, he just might be able to contend in Malaysia and make a run at dethroning Thomas.
#5. Anirban Lahiri
If familiarity breeds success, no player in the field is more familiar with this course than Lahiri. He darn near had this thing won last year before collapsing late and being passed by Thomas (and Matsuyama). If he can hold it together this year, he could sneak in and cash a nice longer value wager. In addition to the CIMB Classic, the Malaysian Open is also held at TPC Kuala Lumpur and Lahiri has played here in 10 events between the PGA and European Tour.