I would like to welcome everyone to the 2011 edition of the CIMB Asia Pacific Classic. The PGA players travel overseas this week for some great golf and a beautiful resort. Players will be playing at the MINES resort & Golf club this week, one of the most exclusive resorts in Malaysia. The rich and famous utilize this resort; something a player could be if he wins this week.
The golf course that will host the 2011 CIMB Asia Pacific Open is one that plenty of birdies will be made on. In last year’s inaugural event, the winning score was a blistering -18. Look for this year to have a similar winning score, as the course is only a 6966 Par 71 track.
Ben Crane held on to last year’s championship by firing a final round 69 to hold off Englishman Brain Davis by one shot. An interesting note about this week’s format is that there will be no cut. The 48-man field will all get the opportunity to play 4 rounds and vie for the championship on Sunday. Lets take a closer look at the 6 men I feel have the bets chance of winning the title.
STEVE’S SIX PACK
Camilo Villegas 17/1 – Villegas struggled for most of the year but picked it up near the end, as he is prone to doing in the fall events. He has posted 3 Top 10’s in his last 4 events (T9, T6, T6). I look for him to continue to make plenty of birdies this week and possibly pick up his first win of the season. One statistic that stands out for me when it comes to Villegas is his ability to scramble. With everyone going pin hunting this week, getting up and down when a green is missed will be essential. The last thing a player wants to do is go from birdie thoughts to a bogey. Villegas currently sits 5th on Tour for scrambling within 30 yards of the green at just under 50%.
Ryan Moore 20/1 – Moore finished T5 here last year after coming out of the gates with a blistering 64. Moore finished the season with Top 20’s in 2 of his last 3 events (T16 and T10). Though Ryan has played solid golf this year, he, like Villegas, is still looking for his first win of the season. I look for Moore to utilize his putting this week and roll in plenty of birdies. Ryan currently sits 6th on Tour in Total putting with a score of 60.2. Ryan is also 1st on Tour from approaches between 175-200 and 2nd on Tour for approaches between 50-75 yards. This adds up to plenty of Par 5 birdies this week.
Jason Dufner 24/1 – Jason has two 2nd places and a 3rd this year but wants a win. He has a good chance of getting it this week with the layout of the MINES resort & Golf Club. Dufner absolutely loves to make birdies. When you look at the events he succeeds in it is usually ones where he can get on a birdie stretch. Luck for Jason most of the MINES resort & Golf Club allows players to have birdie opportunities, so lets hope for plenty of long birdie stretches. Look for him to hit it close (8th on Tour in proximity to Hole) and make plenty of putts.
Brian Davis 36/1 – Davis finished runner up in last years event and looks to build on that this year. If it were not for a 2nd round of 70 Davis would have most likely been crowned the champion here last year. Brian is a terrific golfer but has had a down year. The Englishman has only 2 Top 10’s on the PGA Tour and did not play great down the stretch. He does however know this course very well and tends to play better internationally than in the United States. Look for him to be in contention on Sunday.
Vijay Singh 38/1 – Not often is my favorite pick my 2nd longest odds but it is this week. Vijay is playing very solid golf and will be close to his homeland of Fiji. Singh has battled back problems but appears to be pain free and that is great news for us this week. After posting back-to-back Top 5’s to finish off August, Singh hit a rough patch. I look for him however to bounce back in the international stage and pick up his first win in far too long this week.
Kyle Stanley 42/1 – With little history to go on I went with a player who I feel can over power the golf course. The long hitting young gun Stanley finished the year very well, posting Top 25’s in 4 out of his last 5 tournaments. He finished 2nd place this year at the John Deere Classic, another tournament that is an absolute shootout. Look for Stanley to dominate the Par 5’s this week and possibly pick up the 1st win of his young PGA Tour career.
I hope everyone enjoys the golf this week. (Also there will be no Head -to -Head picks this week…just an Outright Winner!)