His PGA articles have been featured here on RotoCurve for the past year. Ryan is a former PGA professional, so his golf course and player insights are second to none. Ryan is originally from Cleveland, Ohio, but now resides in South Florida with his wife and son.
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It was a rough opening week for our sleepers, but that’s what happens when the chalk hits. Defending champion Brendan Steele won again, and the highest priced player on DraftKings (Tony Finau) finished runner-up. This week, we have a very unique event in Malaysia: the CIMB Classic. This event is a PGA Tour event that is co-sanctioned with the Asian Tour, creating a 78-man, no-cut field. Our headliners this week are Justin Thomas, Hideki Matsuyama, Paul Casey, Charl Schwartzel, Branden Grace, and Xander Schauffele.
This week, players face TPC Kuala Lumpur, host of the CIMB Classic. This course is a short, par-72 layout that features seashore paspallum greens. We don’t see these surfaces much during the year, because they are primarily located in Asia (where we are this week) and in other tropical locations.
This week’s event is very unique, because it is a co-sanctioned event between the PGA Tour and Asian Tour. Only 60 PGA Tour members are invited, and the rest of the field is rounded out by the top Asian players. It’s a no-cut event, so that will make fantasy scoring very interesting and lend itself towards stars and scrubs roster constructions.
Based on the scores we’ve seen here over the years, this is an absolute birdie-fest. Although shorter, more accurate hitters would seemingly fit the mold here, we’ve seen Justin Thomas win two consecutive years, and Gary Woodland (another bomber) have a great track record. The course usually plays soft, so longer hitters will have an easier time finding the fairways. As usual, I’m going to give a boost to off-the-tee specialists.
The course breakdown is also going to depend heavily on the weather. Last year, rain-soaked days gave the players the ability to lift-clean-and place the ball in the fairways, putting a premium on accuracy. If that’s not in play this year, then we can target more accurate players. The rough is usually not too penal, but again, that’ll depend on the weather. The par-5s here play short, and three of them will be reachable for every player in the field. The par-4s are also manageable, with five of them playing under 410 yards. These factors are all going to favor shorter, more accurate hitters. The only bombers I will target are players like Thomas and Woodland, who also gain strokes on approach shots.
Now, onto my sleeper picks of the week for the CIMB Classic.
DraftKings High-End Sleepers
Charl Schwartzel ($9,800)
Schwartzel had a solid run during the FedEx Cup playoffs, posting top-30s in every event before narrowly missing out on the Tour Championship. He didn’t play his best at the President’s Cup, but he comes to a course he loves. In four appearances at TPC Kuala Lumpur, he’s finished 11th, 6th, 4th, and 19th. The slower greens and humid climate are comfortable for Schwartzel, and the no-cut format helps with his volatility. He’s an elite GPP play this week, and I expect a top-15 finish.