Inside the Ropes
Mines Resort and Golf Club
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Par: 71 (35-36)
Course Architects: Robert Trent Jones (1993)
Purse: $6,100,000 USD
Winner’s Share: $1,300,000
Defending Champion: American Bo Van Pelt blazed his way to 23-under par 261 to defeat American Jeff Overton by six shots for his second-career victory.
Date: October 25-28
Format: The field is 48 deep and will play stroke play for 72 holes. There is no cut.
Notes: Gamers, please note that this only the third time this event has been held. Also, this is a PGA TOUR-sanctioned event but the results DO NOT count towards the final money list numbers in 2012.
Ben Crane (2010) and Bo Van Pelt (2011) are the two winners of this event. We’ve learned it’s good to be American and have your name start with B if you’re going to have a shot this week…
Van Pelt’s 64 was the lowest final round score in the two-year history of this event.
Jeff Overton’s 62 was the low round of 2011. Ricky Barnes fired 63 for the low round in 2010.
The two winners have gotten off to flying starts as Crane began four-under-par 67 and Van Pelt was five-under-par 66.
So What? So Let’s Dance!
For the third year in a row, the PGA TOUR heads to the CIMB Classic in Malaysia. Ben Crane posted 18-under 266 to win the inaugural event and Bo Van Pelt smashed that mark last year as he posted 23-under 261 to run away with the title. It’s not surprising that these scores are low when the words “resort course” appear in the title of the course. Every time these guys play on tracks that are geared to amateur players, we know they are going low. Way low. The Mines Resort Course plays just under 7,000 yards and it is set up to see the best players in the world make birdies. The closing four holes should provide for some excellent scoring opportunities as hole No. 15 is a drivable par four (292 yards) and No. 17 is a 523-yard par 5.
Bo Van Pelt: His fantastic end-of-season one came to a climax last week with his victory at the Perth International as he held off fellow American Jason Dufner by two shots. Van Pelt and Dufner were the only two players to have three rounds in the 60’s last week and both players made 25 birdies. Both of these players are in the field this week and both are acclimated to this part of the world. In his last eight events, BVP has a win and four other top 10 finishes. Did I mention that he’s the defending champion at the CIMB Classic? Van Pelt would love another shot at Woods on Sunday after falling just short at the AT&T in early July. Woods and BVP played in the final group on that Sunday and Woods held him off 69 to 71. I like his form, his play last week and the fact that he’s been there for over a week. I’ll put him on top.
Tiger Woods: In his last three stroke-play events he faced the three best fields in the world of golf and finished third, T4 and T8 to wrap up the FedExCup Playoffs. In the Ryder Cup, his partnership with Steve Stricker didn’t come off, to say the least, but Woods did make a hatful of birdies in his four-ball matches and was solid in his singles match. As it always goes with Woods, if his wedges from 100 yards are clicking and he holes putts, there are not many people in the world, let alone this field, who are going to beat him.
Jason Dufner: His 25 birdies led to a second place finish last week to Bo Van Pelt at the Perth International. Dufner has finished outside the top 31 once in 13 events since his victory at the Zurich Classic. Dufner was T10 here last season with all of his rounds at 70 or better. It doesn’t matter where he tees it up, he always seems to be in the hunt. He has game and it does travel.
Brendon de Jonge: The last two winning scores were -18 and -23 so that tell us we need players who can make bushels of birdies this week. I’m not making the same mistake again as I did when I left de Jonge out at the Timberlake. He leads the TOUR in birdies and has finished second and T4 in his last two starts. He finished T31 in his only other start here last year but that won’t concern me. Jet-lag will be the only thing that holds him back this week.
Seung-Yul Noh: He’s made 17 cuts in a row (no cut this week) and he’s been in the money in 24 of 28 starts in 2012. He closed his season on a high note as he finished T13 and T16 in his final two playoff events to just miss out on the TOUR Championship. Of his 24 finishes in the money, 13 have been in the top 25. He should be more than comfortable playing in this part of the world and he’s been in Korea since the end of the season. He was sixth in the Kolon Korea Open last weekend as he closed 68-69.
Jeff Overton: After a run of T7, T51, T13 and solo eighth, Overton finished T51 last week at the McGladrey. Don’t let the final place skew your outlook on the American who finished second alone here in 2011 six shots behind Bo Van Pelt. Overton’s worst score last week was par-70 in the second round. He was under par for his other three rounds. In his last 12 rounds, his 70 (twice) matches his worst score so if he starts racking up some GIR, look out. He tends to play well in bunches and his previous result here should have him primed and ready to go.
John Senden: Senden has made 19 of 22 cuts to finish 37th in the FedExCup final standings in 2012. He hit the top 10 five times and had another six finishes in the top 25. As well as he hits his tee ball and irons, he’ll have plenty of chances to make birdies this week. In two previous events here, he’s finished T29 and T7 last year. In both of those tournaments he’s closed with 65 so he gets more comfortable as the week continues.
Nick Watney: After winning the first FedExCup Playoff event, Watney had a chance to become the FedExCup champion after an otherwise quiet year by his lofty standards. He ended up finishing fourth in the playoffs but he’s back in the top-10 mode after his T10 finish at the Timberlake. Watney has no problem making birdies and will continue his solid finish to 2012 this week as his tee ball, which has bothered him, will struggle to find problems on this resort course layout.
Jimmy Walker: After knee surgery following the BMW Championship in mid-September, “Dynomite” has been playing nothing short of just that. He finished T10 in his first event back, the Timberlake, and then followed that up with a T4 at the Frys.com the following week. His wife, via Twitter Sunday, remarked that Walker is in Malaysia, but his clubs haven’t arrived yet. That would be the only way I see Walker slowing down this week. He finished T13 here last year.
Ben Crane: The 2010 champion has never fired higher than 69 in eight rounds at the CIMB Classic. Last week, he showed a glimpse of what it might take to win here by firing 62 in round three in his defense of The McGladrey Classic. He finished with 72 to post T27 in his first tournament in six weeks. He’s knocked the rust off his game and he returns to an event where he’s finished WIN and T20 in his two trips.
Horses for Courses
Cameron Tringale: He’s in the “horse for course” section because in his last five events he’s broken 70 exactly once and that was the first round of the PGA Championship. Tringale is hoping to find the vibe here that helped him finish T4 last year after a final round 64.
Martin Laird: Laird’s on this list for the same reason as he finished the Barclays 77-77, MC at the Deutsche Bank Championship with 72-75 and his final two rounds at the BMW were 72-81. Buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuut, he does play resort courses well as he was second at Kapalua, T14 at PGA West and T24 at the WGC-CC at Doral. In his only appearance here in 2010, he finished T3.
Ricky Barnes: He’s finished T11 and 19th in his two starts here. He knows the course and had the low round of 2010 with 63. Barnes has missed the cut in four of his last six, including his last two events so be judicious on where you select him, if you do at all, this week.
Danny Chia: He fired a T13 here last year and will be flying the flag for all of Malaysia.
Golf Channel Fantasy Challenge: CIMB Classic (Glass Picks)
Group 1: Bo Van Pelt
Group 2: Brendon de Jonge
Group 3: Seung-Yul Noh
Group 4: Cameron Tringale
Ned said, “…
Ned Brown is a long-time contributor for Rotoworld Golf. He’s had documented success in Yahoo!’s game for years. Even if you’re confident in your selections for that game, give his insight a read. Now, Ned also provides us with his Golf Channel fantasy game selections as well!
Full Disclosure: I am NOT Ned! He’s smarter and better looking!
Golf Channel Fantasy Challenge: CIMB Classic (Ned’s Picks)
Group 1: Tiger Woods
Group 2: Brendon de Jonge
Group 3: Seung-Yul Noh
Group 4: Tom Gillis
Coming Sunday: CIMB Classic Wrap Up