Looking for 2017 v picks, either for betting or fantasy golf games like DraftKings, FanDuel, Yahoo, Golf Channel or the PGA Tour?
We have your 2017 CIMB Classic rankings and expert picks, as we do each week of the PGA Tour season.
The Asian Swing starts this week in Malaysia, with TPC Kuala Lumpur hosting as Justin Thomas defends after an awesome showdown with Hideki Matsuyama last year. The no-cut field means guilt-free picks as everyone is going to cash and get you four rounds of points.
For those new to our weekly picks, we offer our top 10 players for free. GNN Plus members get additional analysis and research otherwise hidden to the general public, and that’s in addition to access to a searchable database of PGA Tour results from 2011-present, top-15 PGA Tour trends and season-long DraftKings salary trends.
2017 CIMB Classic rankings: Top 10 picks
1. Justin Thomas — The best player in the world right now is two-time defending champion and coming off the high of being lights-out at the Presidents Cup.
2. Hideki Matsuyama — Hideki wasn’t great in the final weeks of the last PGA Tour season…so, a few weeks ago. But he likes the event and is clearly a class player in the field.
3. Xander Schauffele — The Tour Championship winner has enjoyed a few weeks off before this big road game. Not entirely sure he’s demonstrated comfort going maybe 20 deep to win, but he’s clearly on the upswing.
4. Paul Casey — Top five in four of his last six starts and just one out of the top 13? C’mon. Play him.
5. Kevin Na — Gotta consider Na here, given his record and how he seems to play his best golf in the fall (American fall, that is).
6. Pat Perez — Perez with three top-16 finishes to round out the playoffs. If he can continue his short-game form, then he should do well. He thrives in tournaments where going deep is a must.
7. Rafa Cabrera Bello — RCB was horrid in August, but he was pretty good in the last two playoff events. A T-10 here last year.
8. Anirban Lahiri — The guy single-handedly extended the Presidents Cup to a fourth day that sort of mattered. Contended here previously.
9. Gary Woodland — Woodland is a horse-for-course pick here, though he was T-56 last year. Some top 25s in the playoffs are encouraging.
10. Scott Piercy — He needs to be mentioned, albeit tepidly. Came back from a three-plus-month break with a top-25 finish at the Safeway. Great record in this event.
My DraftKings lineup for this week:
- Xander Schauffele – $9,700
- Pat Perez – $9,000
- Kevin Na – $8,200
- Anirban Lahiri – $8,200
- Bud Cauley – $7,600
- Stewart Cink – $7,000
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GNN Plus Research and Analysis
Recent PGA Tour Trends
We start by looking at the recent past, back at players who have finished inside the top 15 in the last five individual PGA Tour events.
- Chez Reavie – 3 – T-10 The Northern Trust, T-12 BMW Championship, T-13 Safeway Open
- Justin Thomas – 3 – T-6 The Northern Trust, WIN Dell Technologies, 2nd Tour Championship
- Pat Perez – 2 – T-6 Dell Tecnologies, T-12 BMW Championship
Event Finish History
Here are the players who finished in the top 10 at this event multiple times in the last five years:
- Cameron Tringale – 2
- Charles Howell III – 2
- Gary Woodland – 2
- Hideki Matsuyama – 2
- James Hahn – 2
- Justin Thomas – 2
- Keegan Bradley – 2
- Kevin Na – 3
- Scott Piercy – 3
- Stewart Cink – 2
DraftKings salaries change from week to week, depending on field strength and size, as well a player’s recent record and their history on a course. It’s in looking at how a salary changes over time that we might get some clues as to players that could be a little overrated or underrated.
Here’s the list of players in the field playing at least $1,500 over their 2016-17 average salary for the final 10 events (ranked least to most over average salary):
- Gary Woodland
- Cameron Smith
- Paul Casey
- Scott Piercy
- Pat Perez
- Charl Schwartzel
- Xander Schauffele
- Justin Thomas
Here are the players playing this week with multiple top-15 finishes in the last five PGA Tour events that are playing AT OR BELOW their average salary from the final 10 events of the 2016-17 season:
- Chez Reavie
Success at TPC Kuala Lumpur
If you haven’t heard, Malaysia is hot. Really hot and humid. That means success first has to do with endurance. You can’t get gassed easily or fade in rounds because you’re out of physical energy. So, lean toward in-shape players. You have to take it deep to win, and not every player in this field feels comfortable with a 20-under target. Scoring isn’t particularly difficult, but flailing it about wildly offline off the tee can lead to some problems.