DraftKings PGA Lineup Advice: CIMB Classic
We have 78 players mkaing the trek to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, for the CIMB Classic this week. Those golfers flying from the States will spend 20 hours in the air and tee it up at the equivalent of the middle of the night Wednesday/Thursday morning to play lift-clean-and-place golf in tropical heat—which is to say, this is a unique event.
Justin Thomas, defending champion twice over, headlines the field. Eleven players who finished inside last season’s top 30 in the FedEx points race join him. Ten slots are reserved for Asian Tour players. Malaysian pros Danny Chia and Nicholas Fung earned sponsor exemptions.
Kuala Lumpur G&CC’s West Course, at 7,005 yards, is a short and eminently gettable par-72 track. Seven of the course’s par-4s are under 425 yards. Seashore Paspalum greens, stimp at a sticky 11 and average 6,500 square feet. The course is typically in the lower third of difficulty on tour.
Quality iron players and big-time birdie makers tend to prosper here, however, the course isn’t a bomber’s paradise and plotters can play well.
If you want to go chalk…
Justin Thomas at the CIMB Classic is among the chalkiest plays you’ll come across in DFS. Dude is on fire, nearly won the Tour Championship in his last start, is well rested, and, oh yeah, won the last two editions of this tournament. Ownership will be through the roof, but you can’t afford not to own a piece of JT this week at $12,300, especially with Paul Casey ($10,500) as the only other “must play” above $9K.
Hideki Matsuyama: $11,200
Matsuyama hasn’t had a top-10 finish since the PGA Championship and has struggled with his putting in particular. Still, the combination of pedigree and field strength demands you consider Matsu this week. Plus, he was a top-10 finisher in his two most recent CIMB Classic efforts. Seventh in strokes gained: approach. Fifth in strokes gained: tee-to-green.
Paul Casey: $10,500
What can you say about Paul Casey’s recent form? Eight top-15 finishes in his last 10 starts. He has finished inside the top 25 at the CIMB Classic twice. 43rd in strokes gained: off-the-tee. Second in strokes gained: approach. Seventh in strokes gained: tee-to-green. Sixth in total strokes gained. Press that Paul Casey button again this week.
Hudson Swafford: $6,900
Maker of eight of his last nine cuts, Hudson Swafford hasn’t finished worse than 29th at the CIMB Classic. At just $100 more than the minimum price, Swafford is an attractive play. Nobody in the sub-$7,000 price range is nearly as compelling of a play. 27th in strokes gained: off-the-tee last year.
Birdies are the name of the game in GPP. Field leaders in birdie or better percentage (BoB%; 2016-2017 ranks)
1. Justin Thomas: $12,300
3. Hideki Matsuyama: $11,200
9. Luke List: $7,600
11. Scott Piercy: $8,500
14. Anirban Lahiri: $8,200
Chez Reavie: $7,600
Reavie had a strong finish to the 2016-2017 season. Top-15 finishes in three of his last four starts, Reavie didn’t impress at the CIMB Classic last year. However, he’s at least $500 cheaper than he should be, making him an attractive core player who can be relied upon for a top-25 finish this week. 38th in total strokes gained for 2016-2017.
Graham DeLaet: $7,500
DeLaet’s recent play has been a mixed bag: top-10 finisher at the PGA Championship and last week’s Safeway Open; cut misser at the Northern Trust and Dell Technologies Championship. He hasn’t teed it up at the CIMB since 2013, but he finished seventh in that effort. $200-$300 cheaper than he should be, DeLaet is attractive statistically: 22nd in strokes gained: off-the-tee, 29th in strokes gained: approach for 2016-2017. The Canadian is an excellent building block in Malaysia this week.