Get your lineups in early for this week’s CIMB Classic at TPC Kuala Lumpur because it starts on Wednesday night for those of us in North America. Fortunately, there are only 78 players to consider with a much smaller field than usual for this tournament. This is the start of the Asian swing, with the CJ Cup at Nine Bridges and the WGC-HSBC Champions left to come.
This is just the second event of the wraparound portion of the 2018-19 season, so a lot of players are still shaking off of the rust from getting bounced in the FedEx Cup playoffs or from not making it at all. That means that you have to dig for this one, which features the top 60 in the FedEx Cup points list that wanted to play, the top 10 from the Asian Tour, and eight sponsor exemptions.
It’s easy to take Justin Thomas and Ryan Moore this week, but we’re looking for value options. That’s what we’ll be doing all season long on the golf side.
Salaries listed are from DraftKings.
Cameron Smith ($8,400) – Cameron Smith comes in right around the average salary for the six-man roster in DraftKings. Smith is a good candidate this week. He was fifth last year and also fifth back in 2014 at TPC Kuala Lumpur. He played very well in the CJ Cup last year with a third-place finish. He likes these early events and played quite well at times last season, including thirds in the Northern Trust and also the Dell Technologies Championship. He made it all the way to the Tour Championship, where he finished 20th out of the 30 players left standing. This is a guy that finished fifth in the WGC-Dell Match Play and fifth at the Masters last year, so he can play.
Danny Lee ($8,100) – Danny Lee had a solid showing at the Safeway Open last wee. He was 10th and only had seven bogies while toting around the course at Silverado. The nice thing about this event is that TPC Kuala Lumpur is that it is a short course for a par 72, which helps somebody like Lee, who wasn’t a big hitter last year. That being said, he was sixth in driving distance last week at Silverado, so he turned it up a little bit and actually putted really well. Lee was seventh last year in Malaysia and five of his last eight rounds here have been under 70 after some tough early rounds. Hopefully last week’s strong effort gives him some confidence this week.
Beau Hossler ($7,800) – It’s a bounce back week for Beau Hossler. He was tipped in a few places last week by some respected golf minds, but he fell short of the cut. He was 2-under, but a 73 on Friday was the kiss of death, as he had a triple bogey on his card to go along with 10 birds and five bogies. Hossler hasn’t played this event before, so this will be some uncharted territory for him, but he played well to start last season with a 10th at the Sanderson Farms and a seventh at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. Maybe getting away from the States and seeing something new will provide a boost.
Kevin Na ($8,600) – Kevin Na bypassed last week’s Safeway Open, so he’ll open up his 2018-19 season with the CIMB Classic this week. Na has played well here in the past, as he racked up consecutive top-five finishes back in 2014 and 2015. This is a short course, which helps a guy like Na, whose best asset on the course is with the putter. Na can get really hot with the putter and making putts is important on courses like this where everybody is racking up GIRs. He’s kind of a high-risk player this price tag, but it’s worth it if he’s got his rhythm on the dance floor.
Anirban Lahiri ($6,900) – Maybe things happen for a reason. Andrew Landry backed out of the CIMB Classic this week, which opened the door for Anirban Lahiri. Lahiri was 10th last year at 13-under with one of the lowest rounds on Saturday when he fired a 64. He finished third in 2016 at 19-under, just four shots off of Justin Thomas’s pace. Lahiri was a respectable 21st in 2015. He’s not in very good form, but this is a course that he has tamed in the past and he was gifted a chance to jump into this field, which could lift his spirits some despite the recent struggles.