Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
The 41-year-old, a pre-tourney 50/1 outright, bags his third PGA TOUR title in his 403rd career event, second as 54-hole leader/co-leader. Small caveat: Perez was 54-hole leader at the 2009 50th Bob Hope Classic (now CareerBuilder), but that was a 90-hole event. He was actually three back after 72 holes, shot 3-under 69 and won by three.
Bradley, who closed with bogey-free 67 out of the penultimate threesome, nabs his fifth career runner-up in his 185th career start, first since solo 2nd at the 2014 Arnold Palmer Invitational 97 starts ago. Overall, it’s Bradley’s 11th career top-3 finish.
1st- Pat Perez (-24) 66-65-64-69= 264
2nd- Keegan Bradley (-20) 65-71-65-67= 268
T3- Xander Schauffele (-17) 65-67-67-72= 271
T3- Sung Kang (-17) 67-68-65-71= 271
T5- Cameron Smith (-16) 64-71-73-64= 272
T5- Hideki Matsuyama (-16) 70-68-63-71= 272
Perez, making his first start of the season, collects 500 FedExCup (FEC) points for the victory and vaults 73 spots to a career-high 2ndin the FEC standings, 56 points behind last week’s (repeat) winner at the Safeway, Brendan Steele, who finished T13 this week.
Speaking of “repeats”, Justin Thomas, the pre-tourney fave outright (4/1), was going for a 3-peat in Malaysia but never factored, finishing T17, 13 shots shy.
In the last 95 events on TOUR, the pre-tourney fave/co-fave has only won SIX times, most recently Henrik Stenson at the 2017 Wyndham (14/1 co-fave).
Thomas is in the published field at this coming week’s inaugural THE CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES on Jeju Island, Korea, as is all of this week’s top-5 finishers, with the exception of Matsuyama.
Perez’ three wins:
2018: CIMB Classic (54-hole leader by four)
Shot: 3-under 69
Winning Margin: 4 shots
Career Start: 403
Starts In Between Wins: 24
2017: OHL Classic (come from behind, 1-shot deficit)
Shot: 4-under 67
Winning Margin: 2 shots
Career Start: 379
Starts In Between Wins: 182
2009: 50th Bob Hope Classic (come from behind, 3-shot deficit)
Shot: 3-under 69
Winning Margin: 3 shots
Career Start: 197 (8th season on TOUR)
Perez likes “classics”, apparently, and also likes Paspalum grass, notching his last two wins on those surfaces.
Perez at the CIMB:
5 starts (4 official)
2 top 25s
2 top 10s
1 top 5
Perez finished last season, his 16th consecutive on TOUR, a career-best 15th in the final FEC standings. He posted a career-high 14 top 25s in 26 starts, six for top 10s (tied career high) and four top 5s. His previous-best finish was 44th in 2007, the first year the FEC was contested.
The Arizona State product advanced to the TOUR Championship for the first time, where he finished 16th, which chased a T12 at the BMW, T6 (Dell), and T34 (THE NORTHERN TRUST).
He began last season on a Major Medical Extension after missing 35 weeks due to labrum surgery in March, 2016. In his third start (of 15) on the Major Medical, the Arizonian won the 2017 OHL Classic in a tournament-record-tying 21-under 263 as a pre-tourney 80/1 outright.
Interestingly, his first start on the medical was here at the CIMB, where he finished T33 on a sponsor invite, followed by T7 at the Shriners and the win in Mexico.
Field Scoring Average:
This was the 8th playing of the CIMB, fifth consecutive at TPC Kuala Lumpur, which received the TPC moniker prior to last year’s edition:
7,005 yards; par 72 (36-36)
Note: No strokes gained stats at CIMB
Perez’ Position by Round:
How Perez Won on Sunday:
After kicking off in 66-65, Perez led by one over Schauffele, extending to a four-shot lead after a third-round 64. Playing out of the final threesome with Schauffele and Kang, he hit 11 (of 14) fairways and 16 greens in regulation, camouflaging a lone bogey-5 at six with four circles at holes 2-4 and 8, the latter would complete his scoring.
Perez went 182 starts between wins No. 1 and 2 (2017, OHL Classic), and took just 24 more to add a third.
Schauffele, who began in solo 2nd, sleepwalked to an even-par 72 (four birdies, four bogeys), while Kang, who began in solo 3rd, conjured a 1-under 71 (six birdies, three bogeys, one double bogey-7).
Bradley, who began T4 and six adrift, easily secured solo 2nd with 67 (one eagle-3, three birdies), three clear of Schauffele and Kang, but four shy of Perez, who breezed to the finish line with 10 straight pars.
Dating to the beginning of last season, Perez is the eighth player to hold a four-shot lead (or greater) thru 54 holes and the seventh to convert. The only player that failed was Anirban Lahiri here. He held a four-shot lead and closed with even-par 72 for T3.
How Perez Won the Tournament:
Ranked 1stin Par-3 Scoring; T1 in Total Birdies and Total Bogeys; T1 in GIR
Perez’ Weekly Stats (ranking of 78 players):
Birdies: 27 (T1)
Bogeys: 3 (T1)
Par-3 Scoring: 2.56 (1st)
Par-4 Scoring: 3.80 (T3)
Par-5 Scoring: 4.44 (T9)
Driving Accuracy: 43/56 (T13) at 76.79%
GIR: 62/72 (T1) at 86.11%
Putts per GIR: 1.661 (11th)
Total Putts: 113 (T9)
Putts by Round: 29-26-26-32
Scrambling: 7/10 (T7) at 70.00%
Updated Top 10 in OWGR:
With a Strength of Field rating of 297 (down from 335 last year), Perez banks 48.00 world-ranking points and climbs 11 places to a career-high 20thin OWGR.
5. Jon Rahm
6. Rory McIlroy
9. Jason Day
10. Brooks Koepka
Notable Career Highs in OWGR:
Schauffele: 29th (up three)
Kang: 80th (up 25)
Updated Top 10 in FEC standings (points):
1. Brendan Steele (556)
2. Pat Perez (500)
3. Tony Finau (300)
3. Keegan Bradley (300)
5. Sung Kang (167)
6. Chesson Hadley (163)
6. Xander Schauffele (163)
6. Phil Mickelson (163)
9. Nick Taylor (129)
10. Graham DeLaet (111)
No draw. Limited-field no-cut event
R1: Cameron Smith (64)
R2: Paul Casey (63)
R3: Hideki Matsuyama (63)
R4: Cameron Smith (64)
Leader/co-leaders by Round:
R1: Cameron Smith (T5): Drops to 0-for-1 as 18-hole leader/co-leader
R2: Pat Perez (Won): Improves to 2-for-5 as 36-hole leader/co-leader
R3: Pat Perez (Won): Improves to 2-for-3 as 54-hole leader/co-leader
Last season, 41 (of 48) winners were 33-years-old or younger
28 winners were in their 20s
15 were in their 30s
5 were in their 40s
Through two events this season:
0 winners were in their 20s
1 were in their 30s
1 were in their 40s (Perez, age: 41)
TOUR Rookies &/or First-Timers:
TOUR Rookies: 1
Top-10 finishes: 1
Peter Uihlein: Making his tournament debut on a sponsor invite, the 28-year-old was the only rookie (of 23) in Malaysia. By default, he claims top-rookie honors with T10 on 13-under 275 (73-68-65-69).
It’s his first low-rookie honor in his second start (MC, Safeway). The Oklahoma State product entered the season 3rd in the Web.com Tour Priority Rankings. This was his 32nd career TOUR start (26 pro) and his fourth career top-10 finish.
The Jupiter, Florida, resident’s career best is T4 at the 2015 Sanderson Farms. He’s a one-time winner on the European Tour in 114 career events, claiming the 2013 Madiera Islands Open in Portugal.
Top-10 finishes: 2
Besides Uihlein’s T10, the top-debutant honors belong to:
Xander Schauffele: The 23-year-old was top first-timer with T3 on 17-under 271 (65-67-67-72).
This was his first start of the season and bags back-to-back top-3 finishes, winning the TOUR Championship three weeks ago en route to Rookie of the Year honors.
Overall, this is the SDSU alum’s third top-3 finish in 31 career events, joining his maiden win at the 2017 Greenbrier and the Playoffs finale at East Lake.
Consecutive Top 10s on TOUR:
Jordan Spieth (T7-T7-2-P2)
Jon Rahm (T7-T5-T4-T3)
Justin Rose (T10-T2-T10-T10)
Tony Finau (2-T7-T7)
Matt Kuchar (T10-T5)
Xander Schauffele (T3-1)
Paul Casey (T7-5)
Anirban Lahiri (T10-T9)
Consecutive Top-10 streaks ended:
Note: The average OWGR was 131st and the average OWGR for the top-10 finishers was 66th.
4 of the Top 25 in OWGR were in the field
3 finished in the top 10
15 of the Top 50 OWGR
5 finished in the top 10:
No. 3 Hideki Matsuyama (T5); top-ranked OWGR
No. 14 Paul Casey (T7)
No. 19 Rafa Cabrera Bello (T10)
No. 31 Pat Perez (Won)
No. 32 Xander Schauffele (T3)
Other Top-10 Finishers:
No. 68 Anirban Lahiri (T10)
No. 74 Peter Uihlein (T10)
No. 92 Lucas Glover (T7)
No. 98 Keegan Bradley (2nd)
No. 100 Danny Lee (T7)
No. 105 Sung Kang (T3)
No. 151 Cameron Smith (T5)
No. 4 Justin Thomas (T17); defender, pre-tourney fave
No. 28 Charl Schwartzel (T28)
No. 33 Thomas Pieters (T44)
No. 35 Jason Dufner (74th)
No. 38 Jhonattan Vegas (T39)
No. 39 Si Woo Kim (77th)