Macaulay Renner

Renner's Rundown

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CIMB Classic Preview

Tuesday, October 10, 2017


The PGA TOUR stamps its passport and heads overseas to lovely Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, for week two of the 2017-2018 season. Let's jump right in and see what kind of challenges this course and weather will offer. 
 
Course
TPC Kuala Lumpur
Par 72 - 7,005 yards
Seashore Paspalum Grass
 
Field: 78 players Total; No Cut Event
 
Taking a look at the numbers on this course it is going to be playing ridiculously short with numerous holes that are within reach for some of the longer hitters.  
 
Three of the par 4s check in at 360 yards or less. One of the par 3s is just 140 yards. Three of the four par 5s are 540 yards or shorter. The latter is the most relevant here because that means golfers of all distances will be feasting on these par 5s. 
 
Mixed in are some elevated tees and tight fairways that players will have to be accurate on or else suffer severe hazards including water on the back nine. The rough doesn't look all that punishing and accuracy along with distance will be a perfect combination to avoid the smattering of trees that line the fairways  
 
There is water that comes into play and the uneven lies across the course will have players making stance adjustments to compensate for ball flight and trajectory.  The course looks pristine and should make for a fun week of golf. 
 
 
Weather
The weather for Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia will be a bit on the muggy side with morning temps to be a balmy 75 degrees going up to 90 degrees on Thursday with some rain predicted and possible lightning in some areas. Friday sees much of the same mugginess without the rain and lightning while temps still hit 76 in the morning and 88 in the afternoon. The weekend will see temps around 76 degrees on both days with each day also reaching 90 degrees and higher.
 

Last Year's CIMB Classic Leaderboard Snapshot
 
FIRST ROUND
Keegan Bradley -8               
Derek Fathauer -8
Justin Thomas -8
Paul Casey -7
Anirban Lahiri -6
 
SECOND ROUND
Justin Thomas -14
Anirban Lahiri -12
James Hahn -11
Russell Knox -11
Hideki Matsuyama -11
 
THIRD ROUND
Anirban Lahiri -19
Russell Knox -15
Justin Thomas -15
Derek Fathauer -14
James Hahn -11
Hideki Matsuyama -11
 
 
Course-Specific Stats
The following stats are courtesy of FantasyNational.com.  I have included all players who have played at least 8 rounds or more at the CIMB Classic when TPC KL has been the host.
 
Fairways Gained
Paul Casey
Keegan Bradley
Stewart Cink
Russell Knox
Jason Dufner
Chris Stroud
Chad Campbell
Colt Knost
Jim Herman 
Hideki Matsuyama
 
Greens in Regulation Gained
James Hahn
Charles Howell III
Hideki Matsuyama
Paul Casey
Brendan Steele
Jim Herman
Keegan Bradley
Gary Woodland
Kevin Na
Russell Knox
 
Birdies Gained
Justin Thomas
Hideki Matsuyama
Danny Lee
James Hahn
Anirban Lahiri
Scott Piercy
Kevin Na
Chris Stroud
Jonas Blixt
Keegan Bradley
 
Bogeys Avoided
Kevin Na
Chris Stroud
Brendan Steele
Russell Knox
Charles Howell III
Hideki Matsuyama
Justin Thomas
Anirban Lahiri
Jonas Blixt
Paul Casey
 
Scrambling Gained
Brendan Steele
Kevin Na
Chris Stroud
Charles Howell III 
Russell Knox
Hudson Swafford
Kyle Stanley 
Hideki Matsuyama
Jonas Blixt
Gary Woodland
 

Opening Acts
 
Grillo is a year removed from winning the 2016 rookie of the year title on the PGA TOUR and is part of the famed 2011 class. Needs to improve his play around the green as he looks to improve on his top 20 finish from last year.
 
This is Hao Tong's first start at the CIMB Classic. Most of you remember him from his stellar performance at The Open Championship where he stormed back to finish in the top three in a major. He has five international victories and should be someone to keep an eye on this week.
 
Si Woo Kim, the man who loves to WD is in the field this week as a two-time PGA TOUR winner and the first Asian player to do so before the age of 22. He is coming off his first Presidents Cup event as he makes his second start in Malaysia after posting a top-10 finish last year.
 
Schauffele became the first rookie of the year to capture the TOUR Championship as he did so in style stealing some of Justin Thomas' thunder. Born to a Taiwanese mother, this young phenom won his first event this season at the Greenbrier and has a strong mental game to go along with his great swing.  Look for him to see the first page of the leaderboard many times this year. Still struggling (relatively) on approach, Schauffele has been excellent from tee to green and off the tee.  If he can get his short game going this week, I think he makes some noise.
 
The 21-time PGA TOUR winner is making the trek across the ocean to Malaysia for such valuable FedExCup points early on I the season.  Love will be making his second start after an eighth place finish last time here and should be riding high after being inducted into the Golf Hall of Fame just a few weeks ago.
 
The big Belgian will be coming into this event slightly under the radar due to form recent form but he should be able to tackle this course with ease. A debutante at the CIMB Classic, but not at the course, he's posted a pair of top 20s at TPC KL in the Malaysian Open. Pieters has the ability to adjust to a myriad of conditions while having the length of the tee to tackle any long holes.  Pieters finished 4th at the Masters and 4th more recently at the Bridgestone and has been playing solid golf. in his recent PGA TOUR events. The problem lies in his Euro Tour form, finishing 66th or worse in each of his last four starts. 
 
Knox comes into Malaysia with two top-25 finishes at the course but he has been struggling of late with his six straight international starts landing outside the top 25. Knox needs to find his short game if he wants to contend this week.
 
Lahiri won the 2015 Malaysian Open at TPC Kuala Lumpur so he has what it takes to contend on this course. The 7-time Asian Tour winner and full-time card-carrying member of the PGA TOUR, Lahiri was in the top three last year and has played this course at least once in each of the past seven years.  Lahiri has been really struggling on the greens where he is losing the most strokes but has been playing much better all around off the tee and on approach. If he can get the wand going this week, he could make the first page again at TPC KL. 
 
Cink has recorded a pair of top-20 finishes at the CIMB Classic and if he can continue his improved play on approach to the green, Cink should be able to navigate his way around Kuala Lumpur and be able to score. I like Cink this week as a sleeper/ punt.
 

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Macaulay Scott Renner has been playing ice hockey and golf for over 40 years while growing up on the beaches of the NJ shore. An avid Grateful Dead fan, he has been playing fantasy sports since 1999 and currently resides in Philadelphia. Macaulay can found on Twitter @msr427.



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