PGA Tour Picks: CIMB Classic Odds and Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 10/29/2014
Well, it's looking like another one of the PGA Tour seasons where there are going to be a ton of first-time winners who even devoted golf fans have barely heard of.
At last week's McGladrey Classic in Sea Island, Ga., Robert Streb (yep, you got me there) won his first PGA Tour event. He beat two guys I did know, Brendon de Jonge and Will MacKenzie, in a playoff. All three finished at 14-under 266 with MacKenzie falling out on the first playoff hole. Streb, who shot a final-round and career-low 63 to get into extra holes (he was five back after 54 holes), birdied the second playoff hole to eliminate de Jonge, a very good player still looking for his first win. Streb's previous best finish was a runner-up in New Orleans last season.
Obviously I didn't pick Streb. I have chosen de Jonge a few times over the past couple of years to win, so I would have been a little ticked had he done so. My choice to win was Webb Simpson as a 12/1 co-favorite with Matt Kuchar. Simpson disappointed with a T41 despite having dominated at that course previously in his career. Kuchar was only T22. Thus, I didn't get a single Top 10, which is a rarity as my guys were Simpson, Kuchar and Bill Haas (T22). Frankly, all I hit on was Stuart Appleby at +300 as the top Aussie finisher. He also was T22. So let's move on from Georgia!
The PGA Tour begins its mini-international swing this week with the CIMB Classic in Kuala Lumpur. This event is co-sponsored by the Asian Tour, so there are some guys from there in the field. Also a couple of big-name Europeans looking to warm up for next week's big-money WGC event in China. The field is limited to 78 players so there will be no cut.
Last year, Ryan Moore birdied the first hole of a playoff to beat fellow American Gary Woodland. The playoff was delayed until Monday because of thunderstorms. Woodland could have won in near darkness on 18 Sunday evening but missed a 10-foot birdie putt. Last year was the first time this event was held at Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club's West course (an LPGA event is held yearly on the East). It's a short par 72 at just 6,985 yards but it's not a walk in the park as Moore and Woodland finished at 14-under 274. Moore hasn't won since.
Moore, Woodland and third-place Chris Stroud are back. Interesting stats from the Golf Channel: None of the three have made a cut in the three events played so far in the 2014-15 season (none have played all three). None of the returning players overall who finished in the Top 12 at last year's CIMB Classic have finished as high as 30th in any event in the fall. Jason Dufner makes his first PGA Tour start in a few months off neck problems (he did play last week in Australia). De Jonge is the only guy to make the cut in the first three events this season who is playing this week.
PGA Tour Golf Odds: CIMB Classic Favorites
Sergio Garcia, the highest-ranked player in the field, is the 10/1 Bovada favorite. This is his first start since another successful Ryder Cup. Last year was his first time playing the event and he finished one shot out of a Top 10. Garcia tends to play well in Asia, including a win in Thailand last December.
Hideki Matsuyama and Lee Westwood are 14/1. Matsuyama is off to a fine start to this season. He was T3 at the Frys.com Open and T10 in Las Vegas before taking last week off. He was T25 here a year ago. Westwood won the European Tour's Maybank Malaysian Open by seven shots on this course six months ago.
FedEx Cup champion Billy Horschel, Charl Schwartzel and Woodland round out the favorites at 16/1. Horschel is a new father so probably a little tired. He missed the cut in Las Vegas in his only start thus far. Schwartzel hasn't played a PGA Tour event since No. 2 of the FedEx Cup playoffs but was T15 in Australia last week. This is Woodland's first start since the Tour Championship.
PGA Tour Picks: CIMB Classic Predictions
On the Top-10 props, I do like Sergio (-125), Westwood (+120), Schwartzel (+135) and Matsuyama (+120). Not high on Moore (+200) or Woodland (+135). Head-to-head, take Matsuyama (-130) over Horschel (even money), Schwartzel (-1300) over Woodland (even), Patrick Reed (-115) over Dufner (-115) and Graham DeLaet (-115) over Moore (-115). Go with Marc Leishman at 9/2 as the top Australasian finisher, Garcia at 13/10 as the top European and Schwartzel at -150 as the top South African.
I am tempted to go with Garcia as the winner here because of his history in Asia, but I went chalk last week and that didn't work out. Let's go with Matsuyama, who has those two Top 10s already but smartly took last week off to be well rested and not dealing with jet lag.
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