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Redkacheek’s DFS Rundown: 2019 CIMB Classic

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The CIMB Classic is the first of three events that will take place in Asia, and what that means for us in our DFS and golf betting research is that we have no ShotLink data to go off of. So, it is back to the basics of evaluating the scorecard, yardage, and the traditional accuracy/distance stats: GIR, driving accuracy, and driving distance.

I personally like this type of event because many people will be looking for hard-coded answers to who to play and it will be a huge advantage to understand what kind of traditional stats to look for and how that can be translated from prior events (advanced stats), including last week’s Safeway Open.

This event will be a limited field, about 78 players, with no cut. This may be surprising, but for most PGA Tour pros, traveling to Malaysia is a bit of an expensive endeavor to not be guaranteed a check. I am not sure I totally agree with that since it is already a limited field, but we will deal with what cards we are dealt. In other words, this is another tournament you should try to play light and preferably try to limit your exposure to cash games. Depending on the prize pools that are offered, I will probably do some of the MME GPPs, perhaps mixed with some single-entry or 3-max tournaments.

The CIMB Classic will take place at TPC Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. Interestingly enough, Kuala Lumpur translates to “Muddy Confluence,” as it receives about 100 in. of rainfall annually. This course is easy. This course is easy. No, that is not a typing error, this course is so easy it deserved to be pointed out twice. Why so easy? TPC Kuala Lumpur plays just over 7,000 yards at a par of 72. As shown below, it averaged 1.33 shots under par for 2018 (also -1.7 in 2017) and only 18 players finished the tournament at even par or worse last year.

Pat Perez won last year’s event, finishing at 24 under with 27 birdies and only three bogeys. Justin Thomas won in 2017 at 23 under with 29 birdies. First off, these are two drastically different types of players but both with success here. To further elaborate, this course gave up an average of 4.16 birdies per round, which ranked 45th most difficult out of 51 events last year. This is where we will find the first stats to target this week: birdies-or-better gained or DK points, or perhaps both.

This course has a good balance of short and long par 4s but the one type of hole that stands out to me is the par 5s. The par 5s played 1.5 shots under par each day and that is huge considering the average birdies each round was 4.16. So guys that take advantage of the par 5s will be gaining one to two shots per day on the field. Pat Perez birdied the par 5s nine times (16 attempts) last year and Justin Thomas birdied eight in 2017’s event. Suffice it to say, par-5 scoring will also be a key this week.

What else is there to this course? Well there isn’t a whole lot, to be honest. I think looking at recent form is going to be huge and even eyeing results from the two previous years has shown valuable but TPC Kuala Lumpur is a scorer’s delight and no one stat will lead us to the promised land. Driving distance has not shown to be corollary, so that won’t be beneficial, but I think overall ball striking and looking for strong strokes gained numbers in the past month will be the key to building strong lineups.

With all that out of the way, let’s get into my core plays for this week.

Paul Casey (DK $10,200)

So there is a guy up top named Justin Thomas…I think he is a phenomenal play (he has won here twice and finished 17th last year) but in my limited lineups this week, he will not make the cut. Paul Casey will be the man I will ride with as my most expensive player this week. His best finish at this event came last year where he finished seventh, and with his strong finish during the FedEx Cup Playoffs, I am putting a good bit of faith in Paul Casey’s ball striking skills to continue his strong play. To cap off his 2018 season, Paul gained 5.3 shots T2G at the Dell Championship and then 3.3 SG:T2G at the Tour Championship. This should be a great setup for PC this week.

Rafa Caberera Bello (DK $9,200)

This limited field has kind of led me to a slightly more ownership-focused build. I think in the $9k range, most people will look to Keegan Bradley or Gary Woodland. While I do not think those are bad plays, I think Rafa adds some nice upside with quite a lot of consistency. Rafa finished 10th here the last two years and has the game to really excel on this course again. In the last 24 rounds Rafa has played, he ranks ninth in birdies-or-better and 13th in GIR percentage. We haven’t seen much of Rafa in the past month but he is a world-class player and should pop right back into form this week.

C.T. Pan (DK $8,000)

C.T. Pan will be someone I will look to have in all of my lineups this week. Again, this is a limited field event with no cut and it will be very important to make stands, whether 100 percent locks or complete fades, and C.T. is someone that fits this course quite well. He ranks top 13 in most of my key stats for TPC Kuala Lumpur including SG:T2G, SG:APP, DA percentage, GIR percentage and SG:Total over the past three months. This course is just over 7,000 yards so even with the large amount of rain expected to dump in Malaysia this week, I think he can certainly manage this course with his shorter length.

Sam Ryder (DK $7,700)

Kind of like C.T. Pan above, Sam ranks out so well this week in my key stats and also with his strong showing last week in Napa, California, that I just cannot overlook him here in this field. Sam is my second overall ranked player this week in key stats rating top five in all by driving accuracy, which was pretty forgiving last year. I think some people may have differing views but I see Sam continuing his strong play even with a very, very long flight from California to Malaysia. At $7,700, I think Sam has a really superb chance of paying off his price and even contending for the win again this week.

Andrew Putnam (DK $6,900)

People may have forgotten about Andrew Putnam but this kid is so solid. He finished the year with six-straight made cuts including a 16th, first, and an eighth. He has never played this course/event but looking at the course setup, I can see Andrew having a really good week. Since April this year, Andrew lost strokes T2G only fou times. Overall, I think he has a ton of appeal on this course this week but at $6,900 and overlooked (sub five percent) he may be another one I lock in at 100 percent.

Also consider

Justin Thomas
Ryan Moore
Keegan Bradley
Gary Woodland
Louis Oosthuizen
Kevin Na
Kevin Tway
Austin Cook
Anirban Lahiri

Good luck this week everyone!

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I am ranked in the Top 35 of all DFS Golf players and best known for winning the DraftKings Millionaire Maker contest during the week of The Masters earlier this year. I am very active around the community, always willing to help whether with strategy or research and you can find me on Twitter @Redkacheek and also each week on the Fantasy Golf Bag Podcast. One last note, my history is in professional golf, which definitely adds a unique perspective to DFS that most people do not have and you will find really gives you an edge when evaluating players each week.

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