This article is part of our FanDuel PGA series.
TPC Kuala Lumpur – West Course (7,005 yards, par 72)
$1,260,000 and 500 FedEx Cup points to the winner
KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA – After a thrilling three-player playoff to open the new season in style, the PGA Tour will now head to Asia for a three-week swing. The CIMB Classic this week is held in Malaysia and broke the ice as the first PGA Tour event ever held in Southeast Asia. Since 2013, Kuala Lumpur's par-72 West course has hosted the CIMB Classic as a co-sanctioned event along with the Asian Tour. The layout is very short at roughly 7,000 yards and is vulnerable as a result, giving up winning scores between 23- to 26-under the past three years. The field consists of 78 entrants: 60 from the PGA Tour FedEx Cup standings, 10 from the Asian Tour's Order of Merit, and 8 sponsor's exemptions. Look for this no-cut event to produce many birdies while offering the opportunity for Pat Perez to follow in the footsteps of Justin Thomas and Ryan Moore as a back-to-back champ.
Recent Past Champions
2017 – Pat Perez (Kuala Lumpur)
2016 – Justin Thomas (Kuala Lumpur)
2015 – Justin Thomas (Kuala Lumpur)
2014 – Ryan Moore (Kuala Lumpur)
2013 – Ryan Moore (Kuala Lumpur)
2012 – Nick Watney
2011 – Bo Van Pelt
2010 – Ben Crane
Key Stats to Victory
• Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green
• Driving Accuracy
• GIR percentage
Though no strokes gained data is collected at Kuala Lumpur, four years of traditional stats have proven that precision ball-strikers reign at this vulnerable track. Shorter courses like Kuala Lumpur create an environment where finding fairways and hitting short-iron approaches close are essentials for keeping pace. It's no surprise two-time champs Justin Thomas and Ryan Moore were dominant in these facets when they won here, as was Pat Perez last season. As a starting point, Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green from the 2017-18 season is a great place to start, then driving accuracy and GIR percentage as secondary indicators. With a guaranteed four rounds for each player, the best in the field have typically risen to the top, but there's opportunity for any player to play aggressively without fear of missing a 36-hole cut.
FanDuel Value Picks
Justin Thomas, $13000 – The back-to-back champion from 2015 & 2016 returns to try and claim his third title in four years after a strong individual performance in the Ryder Cup a couple weeks ago. At an astounding 17 percent odds to win this week, he's worth the appropriately-high expense for an elite talent who is guaranteed four rounds.
Ryan Moore, $11600 – Along with Thomas, Moore will seek to become the first three-time winner in Malaysia, having won back-to-back in 2013 & 2014. In fact, he finished no worse than 17th in his past four trips to Kuala Lumpur. After a playoff runner-up effort last week, he appears primed to tackle the vulnerable Kuala Lumpur West course again.
Paul Casey, $10900 – Casey has finished in the top third of the field (top-25) in three of his four career starts at Kuala Lumpur, peaking with a tie for seventh last season. As a perennial powerhouse when it comes to ball-striking, Casey should thrive in a diluted field this week. While he may not win, his price is a bargain for an elite talent who has a great shot at another top-10 finish.
Billy Horschel, $10400 – Horschel finished last season strong, with top-3s in three FedExCup playoff events. His driving accuracy and greens in regulation were stellar in those recent performances, so he should have no problem getting plenty of birdie looks at a short course this week.
Longer Shots Worth a Risk
Kyle Stanley, $9300 – Stanley was 32nd in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green last season after finishing 12th the season before, proving his stigma as an elite ball striker. Furthermore, Stanley was fourth in driving accuracy and sixth in greens in regulation. This week is a great opportunity for the underrated talent to get off to a great start, so long as he can make a few putts.
Emiliano Grillo, $9000 – The 26-year-old Argentinian jumps off the sheet as a great ball striker and managed to finish last season 12th in Strokes Gained: Putting as well, further indicating he's ready to launch his career to new heights. His best two finishes last season were a pair of third-place efforts, but rest assured he's due for a second career win soon after a couple seasons without a victory.
CT Pan, $8500 – A great fit for Kuala Lumpur, Pan finished 17th last season in his first look at the course. After finishing his second full season on the PGA Tour with strong gains in consistency, look for the precision ball-striker to continue his path to improvement in the new season.
Sam Ryder, $7800 – In his rookie season last year Ryder struggled mightily with the putter, but he was otherwise a promising talent, ranking 50th in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green. After a strong T4 finish at the Safeway Open last week where he was 24th in Strokes Gained: Putting, look for his hot hand to continue in Malaysia. You could do much worse than Ryder at this price, so don't hesitate to take a shot on the second-year player this week.
Strategy Tips for this week (based on 60k standard salary cap)
It's almost impossible to ignore Justin Thomas and Ryan Moore considering their incredible histories and overall talent advantages, but in addition to taking one or both guys, it's worth taking some long shots as well. Four guaranteed rounds this week allows the best to rise to the top, but it also provides opportunity for lower-tier players to play aggressively, for better or for worse. Take this into consideration, but ultimately make sure your lineup is chock full of quality ball strikers and you'll be in position to thrive.