CIMB Classic 2015 Tips: Lump on Lee to take trophy in Malaysia

John Senden is hoping to climb back into the world's top 50
John Senden is hoping to climb back into the world's top 50

Dave Tindall brings us his analysis and each-way tips for this week's PGA Tour event - the CIMB Classic in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia...


"In four starts in Malaysia, Senden has racked up form figures of 29-7-16-7. The last two were in this event while the T7 was on this week's course 12 months ago when he overcame a sluggish start to shoot 68-69-68 over the final 54 holes."

Each-way terms: ¼ odds, 5 places


Favourites - best bet: Danny Lee @ 23.022/1

Henrik Stenson is the big favourite in Kuala Lumpur this week and is surely due a win after three second places in his last four worldwide starts. It's his tournament debut, however, so maybe this week will be the start of the Swede's build towards a big climatic finish in the Race To Dubai.

Kevin Na comes in off back-to-back second places and was also runner-up in this event last year but 14/1 for a player who struggles horribly to get over the line? No thanks.

By contrast, Danny Lee showed that he does have that extra touch of class and mental strength that belong to winners by closing out July's Greenbrier Classic in impressive style.

He backed that up with a third place in the following week's John Deere Classic and added a fourth in the Quicken Loans National and a sixth at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational soon after.

Any ideas that Lee had enjoyed a brief moment in the sun were dispelled when he returned six weeks later to finish runner-up at the Tour Championship after closing with a 65.

It's hard to know yet how good he might become but the 25-year-old, who won the US Amateur aged 18 (one month younger than Tiger Woods!), could become a serious player. Let's not forget, he was also the youngest winner on the European Tour when capturing the 2009 Johnnie Walker Classic in Australia before Matteo Manassero re-wrote the record books.

With his Asian roots, Lee should enjoy strong support this week and he'll be playing at a venue he knows pretty well.

Lee first teed it up at the Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club's West Course in the 2010 Malaysian Open and, despite missing the cut, returned there the following year to post T17 in the same tournament.

Last year he played his first CIMB Classic at the short 6,985-yard par 72 and improved to T13 after three rounds in the 60s.

The worry for potential Lee backers this week is that, on first glance, it appears that he hasn't teed it up since East Lake but let's not forget he took part in the Presidents Cup earlier this month.

He didn't perform too well on his debut, winning one and losing two of his three matches, but he did admit that he'd never been so nervous in his life.

Back in the comfort zone of strokeplay, Lee can hopefully hit the heights again.


Mid-range - best bet: John Senden @ 51.050/1

Rust could be an issue for plenty of this week's field but Aussie John Senden has sharpened his game up on the west coast of America over the last fortnight.

He missed the cut at the season-opening Frys.com Open despite a first-round 69 but at last week's Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas he posted 70-65-72-67 to finish an encouraging T16.

Senden was T13 for both Greens In Regulation and Putting Average in Vegas so his game looks in good nick.

In four starts in Malaysia, Senden has racked up form figures of 29-7-16-7. The last two were in this event while the T7 was on this week's course 12 months ago when he overcame a sluggish start to shoot 68-69-68 over the final 54 holes.

The 44-year-old has incentive too. A T14 at June's US Open got him back into the world's top 50 but he's since slipped to 71st so will want to return to the prized group who get into all the big events.

Given his course form and decent display last week, the 50/1 about Senden in a limited field, many of whom lack experience in this part of the world, looks a fair price.

At the same odds, Nick Watney is another contender from this part of the market. The Californian won this tournament when it was held at The Mines Resort & Golf Club in 2012 but could only manage T35 at this week's venue when defending the following year. He didn't take part 12 months ago.

As for recent form, Watney ended the play-offs with a T19 in the BMW Championship while he shot a 66 and two 67s in a T11 in Las Vegas last week.


Long-shot - best bet: Brian Harman to be first-round leader @ 101.0100/1 (1/4 1,2,3,4,5)

I certainly prefer PGA Tour players to the Asian players this week and past results in this event back that up.

So, if I'm going to play a longshot it has to be one of the US raiders.

Harman looks as good a candidate as any given that he made a real impact in this tournament on his one appearance in 2012, shooting 64-70-66-69 to make the top 10.

Yes, that came at the Mines but the heat, humidity, food and overall experience will have been very similar and the left-hander relished his trip to the Far East.

"It's a beautiful country," he said back then. "I've enjoyed every minute of it so far, and everyone has been so gracious and so nice and welcoming, and it's been fun."

To be honest, I'm not totally convinced he can get in the mix over four rounds (although feel free to play the 125/1 if you disagree) so the best option could be to play Harman in the first-round leader market.

Last year, he was leading after day one of the John Deere Classic and McGladrey Classic after rounds of 63 and 65 respectively while he was second after the first day of August's Canadian Open following another opening 65.

More recently, he started with a 66 to be eighth after R1 of last month's BMW Championship.

Add in his opening 64 at this tournament in 2012 (it put him second after day one) and the fact that, incredibly, he posted two holes-in-one during the final round of The Barclays a couple of months ago and it's obvious that the southpaw is capable of great things over a single lap.

Have a first-round leader punt on Harman at 100/1.


Dave's 2015/2016 P/L (based on £5 e/w per selection)

Staked: £60
Returned: £0
P/L: -£60

(After the Shriners Hospital for Children Open)

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