Fact Pack: CIMB Classic


This week the Fall Series is on hiatus, but the CIMB Classic from Malaysia fills the void. Co-sanctioned by both the PGA and Asian Tours, this event will feature a 48-man field and no cut. Bo Van Pelt returns as the defending champion to The Mines Resort & Golf Club, where birdies will abound on a course that yielded a 69.03 stroke average last year. With that in mind, here is a look inside the numbers to see which players may contend for the title and help your Golf Channel Fantasy Challenge team in the process:

Robert Garrigus is one of several players hoping that an aggressive game plan will be rewarded at the Mines Resort & GC. Garrigus leads the Tour in par-3 birdie or better percentage, and ranks 11th in overall birdie average. He has made the cut in each of his last nine starts, seven of which resulted in top-25 finishes.

Thaworn Wiratchant enters this week's event on the verge of becoming the oldest player to ever claim the top spot on the Asian Tour's Order of Merit. The 45-year-old extended his lead over fellow Thai Thongchai Jaidee with a win last week, his third of the year on the Asian Tour.

• Having missed the cut in his last start in Las Vegas, Johnson Wagner now heads to Malaysia in hopes of breaking out of a nearly seven-month slump. Since opening the 2012 season with a win in Hawaii and three other top-10 finishes in his first nine starts, Wagner has missed the cut in half the events he has entered (9/18) and has only one top-30 finish (T-29 at the Shell Houston Open). 

Anirban Lahiri caught headlines this summer with his ace during the British Open at Royal Lytham en route to a T-31 finish in his first major appearance. The 25-year-old Indian recorded a win earlier this year on the Asian Tour and finished T-5 at the Hero Indian Open, his fifth top-10 finish in 15 starts on the Asian Tour this year.

• Having played the weekend in each of his last 17 events, Seung-yul Noh trails only Jason Dufner (21) for most consecutive cuts made this year. The young South Korean recorded top-25 finishes in three of his last four starts in the U.S. and his season has been marked by solid, consistent play, as Noh ranks in the top 40 on Tour in the all-around ranking (25th), scoring average (35th), GIR percentage (35th) and total driving (37th).

Bill Haas will tee it up for the first time since a T-45 finish at Crooked Stick left him at 32nd on the FedEx Cup points list, unable to defend his Tour Championship title. While Haas did not necessarily endure a tough year - he did win at Riviera in February - his slip in the standings can largely be attributed to his approach shots. While the Wake Forest grad finished 11th on Tour in GIR percentage in 2011, he currently ranks 89th on Tour in the same category for 2012.