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Top names tee it up in Malaysia: CIMB Classic preview

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As vampires, werewolves, mummies, and other ghastly ghouls are closing in on neighborhoods across the country in hopes of sugary treats, some big name professional golfers are closing in on the MINES Resort and Golf Club in Malaysia for some rewards of their own.

After all, this is the time of year that Ernie Els dubbed “wheelbarrow time.”  Players travel the globe to chase the warm weather, beautiful venues and the wheelbarrows full of cash offered by tournament organizers. While appearance fees arguably compromise the competitive nature of some players and tournaments, there is no debating that when the best golfers in the world are playing, they’re playing to win. This week’s CIMB Classic in Malaysia will prove just that.

Although the CIMB Classic doesn’t offer a long and storied tradition, the third edition of this event will continue to play an important role in the ever-evolving golf landscape. Asian-born players are making a larger impact on the major golf tours every year. Their presence is being felt on the leader boards and in the press room. Although he’s not in this week’s field, Ryo Ishikawa’s media following is unrivaled. His fan base is immense. He carries an entire country on his shoulders every time he tees it up.  A quick look at the names on any PGA Tour or LPGA Tour leader board will reveal the Asian impact on the game. With golf coming back to the Olympics in four years, the popularity of the game will only increase in this golf-starved part of the world.

The CIMB Classic will consist of 48 players from the PGA Tour, Asia Tour and PGA of Malaysia. This no-cut event will feature some of the bigger names in the game along with the biggest — Tiger Woods.  The presence of the household name in the golfing world brings immediate cache to any event. The fact that Tiger has three wins in 2012 and seems to be on the cusp of regaining some semblance of his old form only adds to his impact on this tournament.

His hefty appearance fee will no doubt pay off for tournament organizers, as fans will turn out in great numbers to get a glimpse of golf royalty. Although Tiger’s participation would suffice for most fans, some other recognizable names from the PGA Tour should make this event that much more interesting.  The unflappable Jason Dufner will be making an appearance after recently making a successful Ryder Cup debut. Nick Watney will attempt to regain the form that proved victorious for him in the FedEx Cup playoffs opener The Barclays. 2011 FedEx champion Bill Haas will tee it up in Malaysia along with Kyle Stanley. Both players will look to capture the magic they both displayed early in the 2012 season.  Also, both champions of this young event will be in the field this week. 2010 champ Ben Crane and 2011 champ Bo Van Pelt will try and stir the echoes of victorious past trips to the MINES Resort. Van Pelt, it should be noted, is fresh off a victory last week in Australia.

If the players themselves aren’t the source of the entertainment this week in Malaysia, the course itself will be. Opened in 1994, this Robert Trent Jones, Jr. design will play to a par of 71 at 6,966 yards. To best highlight the excitement of the scoring of this layout, 10-under-par has only been good enough for 18th and 20th in 2010 and 2011, respectively. Birdies and eagles will be plentiful at the MINES Resort.

In 2010, last week’s ISPS Handa Perth International winner Bo Van Pelt won the CIMB Classic with a score of 23-under. And he wasn’t the only player that went really low: three of the four par 5s had a scoring average less than 4, meaning the holes averaged better than birdie. While faring marginally tougher in 2011, the holes still provided ample scoring opportunities. All three par 5s this week will be easily reachable by the entire field with a well-placed tee shot.  While some traditionalists will lament the opportunities to attack old-man par, the excitement provided by these scores is just what the tournament organizers, sponsors, players, and, most importantly the fans yearn to see.

While most people are filling up their wheelbarrows with fall leaves in preparation for the coming winter, those lucky few individuals who golf for a living will be filling theirs up with cash. Obviously, some players will need larger vessels to haul their take than others. But with so much golfing potential the Southeast Asia region has to offer, golf fans worldwide can look forward to their golf wheelbarrows being filled with not tricks, only treats for many years to come.

Click here for more discussion in the “Tour Talk” forum.

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Joe Romaine is a high school math teacher and golf coach in sunny Arizona. His days are spent thinking about golf, watching golf, and relating golf to his students' math curriculum.

3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Bobbie

    Oct 26, 2012 at 10:56 pm

    What is the time difference in Malaysia and USA?

  2. Bobbie

    Oct 26, 2012 at 10:55 pm

    What does CIMB stand for?

  3. Pingback: Top names tee it up in Malaysia: CIMB Classic preview – GolfWRX.com | golf2usa.com

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Tuesday’s Photos from the 2018 Honda Classic

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GolfWRX is live this week from the 2018 Honda Classic at PGA National’s Champion course (par 70: 7,110 yards) in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.

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The field this week is stacked at the top, and it includes defending-champion Rickie Fowler, 2017 FedEx Champion Justin Thomas, four-time major champion Rory McIlroy, and reigning Masters champion Sergio Garcia, who’s making his first PGA Tour start of 2018. Also in the field is Tiger Woods, who committed to play in the event just last week. Woods is coming off a disappointing missed cut at the 2018 Genesis Open.

Last year, Fowler won by four shots over Morgan Hoffmann and Gary Woodland, despite playing his final round in 1-over par.

Check out our photos from the 2018 Honda Classic below!

Tuesday’s Photos

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Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about the photos in our forums.

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Monday’s Photos from the 2018 Honda Classic

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GolfWRX is live this week from the 2018 Honda Classic at PGA National’s Champion course (par 70: 7,110 yards) in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.

The field this week is stacked at the top, and it includes defending-champion Rickie Fowler, 2017 FedEx Champion Justin Thomas, four-time major champion Rory McIlroy, and reigning Masters champion Sergio Garcia, who’s making his first PGA Tour start of 2018. Also in the field is Tiger Woods, who committed to play in the event just last week. Woods is coming off a disappointing missed cut at the 2018 Genesis Open.

Last year, Fowler won by four shots over Morgan Hoffmann and Gary Woodland, despite playing his final round in 1-over par.

Check out our photos from the 2018 Honda Classic below!

Monday’s Photos

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Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about the photos in our forums.

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Tour Rundown: Bubba is back (from near retirement)

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The California cruise on the PGA Tour came to an end at Riviera, as it always does. Tiger Woods played poorly over the George Thomas classic, as he always does. Oh, and Bubba Watson showed why he is not in the ranks of ballers Dustin Johnson and Gary Woodland. Big wins were earned from Australia to Florida, by 22 year olds and 41 year youngs. Our tour rundown runs gathers results from five unique tours, and breaks each triumph down for you. Have a glance at this week’s Tour Rundown.

Watson returns to form with third Genesis Open win

There are too many ledes to unearth for this one: Horses for courses or Mercurial Watson, or how about My wife’s the hoops star, I’m the golfer? Whatever was in that Tracy McGrady rejection on Friday night was the medicine Bubba Watson needed to return to the winner’s circle. Along the way, Watson schooled the 20-somethings (and even the other Lefty) on how to close the deal in Hogan’s Alley.

How Watson came back from near-retirement

While the siren song of the candy store, car dealership and baseball team might have been strong, Bubba Watson wanted to be a champion golfer again. After nine, up-and-down holes (3 birdies and 2 bogeys) on Sunday, Watson was looking up at Patrick Cantlay, Kevin Na and even Phil Mickelson. Not to worry, as the Florida portsider had played the inward half under par all week. Watson closed with 3 birdies and 0 bogeys over his final 9 holes, sealing a 2-stroke win over Na and Tony Finau.

See the clubs Bubba used to win the 2018 Genesis Open

How a quartet missed out

Let’s summarize: Na played the back side in 1-under par and needed Watson’s 3-under for a playoff; Tony Finau was 2-under on the closing half, but needed double that for extra holes; Phil Mickelson bogeyed 15 and 16 when he knew that birdies were needed; Patrick Cantlay played 1 over in his final 9, when 2-under would have meant playoff. All the also-rans and almost-weres didn’t do what Watson did: close the deal.

Jin Young Ko secures Australian Open on LPGA Tour

It’s a stretch to call Jin Young Ko an LPGA player, as her first 9 wins came on the LPGA of Korea tour. In October and now in February, Ko bested world-class fields to win co-sanctioned events, and is now a two-time LPGA champion. At this rate, it might be difficult for her to remain tethered to the Korean tour.

How Ko won the week

A 7-under 65 on Thursday was the fuel Ko needed to take a lead that she would not relinquish. Although Katherine Kirk matched that number on Sunday, no one was able to wrest the advantage from the 22-year old Ko. Two rounds of 69 and one of 71 brought her to 14-under on the week. On day four, Ko started quickly with two opening birdies. A pair of bogeys on the outward half kept her within sight of the field, but birdies at 9, 13 and 17 were the recipe for re-establishing her three-shot margin of victory.

How she kept the field at bay

The challenging Kooyoonga golf club was not very free with low rounds this week. Ko’s compatriot Hyejin Choi, posted a flawless 67 on Sunday to move up one spot, into solo second at 11-under. In third and fourth were a pair of Australians, Hannah Green at 10-under and the aforementioned Katherine Kirk, at 9-under. Marina Alex was the low USA golfer at 7-under, tied for fifth spot with Minjee Lee.

Oman Open on European Tour

Joost Luiten began the fourth day at Oman in a three-way tie for first spot, but asserted himself early on Sunday with birdies on holes 2 through 4. It was enough to separate from the field, and he was able to hold off Chris Wood to earn his 8th European Tour title, by two strokes.

How Luiten claimed victory

After the fiery beginning, Luiten cooled off in the later stages of the opening nine holes. Bogeys at 7 and 8 brought him back to the field, but he wasn’t done for the afternoon. Luiten birdied 12 and 13, then added the clincher on a tricky birdie putt on the 16th hole. That final birdie gave him a 2-shot separation on Chris Wood, and he held on for pars at the final two holes for a 68 on the day and 16-under for the tournament.

How Wood and others came up shy

Matthew Southgate and Julien Guerrier began Sunday in a tie with Luiten, but the day turned sour early for Southgate. The Englishman had four bogeys in a five-hole stretch. Two more miscues on the inward half dropped him into a three-way tie for ninth at 9-under par. Guerrier held the wheel a bit steadier: two bogeys at the turn were offset by three birdies coming in, and the young Frenchman was able to coax a solo third-place finish out of the week. It was Chris Wood who gave the greatest chase to Luiten. Wood had four birdies on the day, and was in a tie at the top at 15-under, when he yanked a drive at 17 and found a hazard. Although he was able to play his ball, the ensuing bogey was the mistake he could not afford. A par at the last placed him at 14-under, one shot clear of Guerrier and two behind the champion.

Durant welcomes second PGA Tour Champions title at Chubb Classic

Technically, it’s his third, but the first was a two-man win with Billy Andrade. Durant probably caught wind that Billy Mayfair and Tim Petrovic were going super-low (8-under on Sunday) and that David Toms was at their heels (7-under on the day.) Each of those three earned a top-four finish, but Durant took matters into his own hands over the closing seven holes. He left Naples as the 2018 Chubb champion.

When Joe Durant woke up

Durant was 1-over through 7 holes on Sunday, headed in the wrong direction. Birdies on 8 and 9 reminded him that he still had a chance, but the eagle on 13 kicked his game into a higher gear. Birdies at 14, 17 and 18 were enough to offset a bogey at 15, and Durant cruised home with a four-stroke victory over Mayfair, Toms, Petrovic, Lee Janzen and Steve Stricker.

How that quintet fell away

After eight birdies through 14 holes on day 3, Mayfair had zero over his closing four. Toms did the opposite-He played the outward half in 2-under, but came home in 5-under to reach the podium. Petrovic had 4 birdies on each half, but also simply ran out of holes. Janzen threw an early scare into the eventual champion, but two bogeys and not enough chirps were his undoing. Stricker’s finish was the most painful. Within site of Durant and needing birdie at the last for 18-under, Stricker was forced to go for the flag, and instead got wet. His double-bogey finish dropped him from solo second to the five-way tie.

Daniel Fox surprises at Australian PGA championship

Daniel Fox had one previous victory on the Australasian circuit, but he made the most of opportunity’s knock on Sunday. The 41-year old played error-free golf over his final 14 holes, counting 6 birdies for a one-stroke victory over Matthew Millar and Steven Jeffress.

How Fox found the winner’s platform

Fox might say he was the last man standing, and none would argue. The runners-up had chances at birdie at the final hole, but neither one could convert. Fox counted three rounds of 65 and one of 67 on his card.  On the week, he had three bogeys and one double, against 21 birdies and one eagle. In an event where the margin ‘twixt victory and not-victory was razor-thin, Daniel Fox shaved the final whisker.

How Millar and Jeffress came up short

The easy answer would be: they didn’t birdie the 72nd hole. Jeffress had the low round (63) of the week, but his 67-67-66 lost ground on the other three days! As for Millar, one might point to his last two, outward nines. On both weekend days, he made nine consecutive pars to open his round. Against a par of 33, it wasn’t bad, but he gained no ground on the leader. Millar’s stat line for the week read: one eagle, 21 birdies, six bogeys. Yup, nearly identical to Fox, but nearly is the operative word.

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