Pro Golf Weekly

2018 CIMB Classic Power Rankings

After the offseason that nobody thinks is actually an offseason, the 2018-19 PGA Tour opened with a thrilling four days in Napa, where Kevin Tway, the son of a former PGA Tour great found his way into the winner’s circle for the first time after prevailing in a three-man playoff against two much more accomplished players in Ryan Moore and Brandt Snedeker.

Billy Horschel
Billy Horschel gives a fist pump to Justin Thomas on the 16th hole during the final round of the BMW Championship at Aronimink GC on Sep. 10, 2018 in Newtown Square, PA. Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

Now the Tour goes far west to the far east for the CIMB Classic. Taking place in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, the CIMB is undoubtedly the most exotic event on the schedule, and one of the best to watch in regards to breathtaking views.

Headlined by two-time CIMB Champion Justin Thomas, arguably the only American to show up to the Ryder Cup in Paris two weeks ago, a 78-man field takes their shot at the first event of the annual Asian swing. Among those 78, here are the 15 we like best this week:

15. Kiradech Aphibarnrat

Unquestionably Thailand’s best golfer, Aphibarnrat has been ice cold since June, but he did win two Asian Tour events early in the year, and posted T5 finishes in two March WGC events.

This will be the 29-year-old’s CIMB debut, but it is a part of the world he is very comfortable playing. He is fantastic off the tees, which could lead to many birdie chances at a course that traditionally surrenders low scores.

Odds: 80-1
World Rank: 37th
Field Rank: 18th
Last Six: MC, 45, MC, 31, 75, 42

14. Pat Perez

The defending champion cruised to a four-stroke victory in last year’s edition, notching his third career win. His form fell way off after a T20 at March’s WGC-Mexico Championship, but he was relevant early in the year’s final two majors.

It is difficult to have great faith in his current form, but he tore this field apart last year, and TPC Kuala Lumpur has yielded two back-to-back champions (Ryan Moore 2014 and 2015, Justin Thomas in 2016 and 2017). In his 2018 victory, he led the field in birdies and hit an impressive 86% of his greens in regulation.

Odds: 80-1
World Rank: 56th
Field Rank: 11th
Last Six: 55, WD, 40, 35, 63, MC

13. Kyle Stanley

His event history is not exceptional; a T19 is his best result in three tries at TPC Kuala Lumpur, but he is coming off a season where he finished 6th on Tour in driving accuracy and 4th in greens in regulation, and he played well enough to reach the Tour Championship.

Stanley did not win in 2018, but contended in a number of events with very strong fields: a runner-up and two T5s in WGC events, plus a T2 at The Memorial Tournament.

Odds: 40-1
World Rank:27th
Field Rank: 5th
Last Six: 15, 45, 12, 28, MC, 2

12. Anirban Lahiri

A year ago, Lahiri was the world’s highest ranked player from India by far, but after a pedestrian 2018 season, he dropped from No. 66 to No. 119 and now sits three spots short of Shubhankar Sharma.

His recent form might not be terribly important, however, because Lahiri loves this course. He was T10 a year ago, T3 the year prior, and consistently plays well in the fall.

Odds: 66-1
World Rank:119th
Field Rank: 5th
Last Six: MC, MC, 71, MC, 6, MC

11. Kevin Tway

The 2018-19 season opened last week with Kevin Tway, the son of 8-time PGA Tour champion Bob Tway, posting birdies on five straight holes to win a playoff at the Safeway Open, the first victory of Kevin’s career.

Players often experience a letdown the first tournament after career win No. 1, so he might go under the radar a bit, but he does run very hot-and-cold, so do not completely discount the possibility that he lands in the winner’s circle in back-to-back weeks.

He was T32 at last year’s CIMB, but he had worse course history going into the Safeway.

Odds: 66-1
World Rank:119th
Field Rank: 47th
Last Six: MC, MC, 71, MC, 6, MC

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Joel Cook

Joel Cook is Pro Golf Weekly's Lead Writer. He is a member of the Golf Writer's Association of America.

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