Thomas, Bradley, Casey, Matsuyama, Schauffele, Els And Love III commit to CIMB Classic

Wed 12 Sep 2018

Thomas, Bradley, Casey, Matsuyama, Schauffele, Els And Love III commit to CIMB Classic

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Kuala Lumpur, September 13: World number four and two-time CIMB Classic champion Justin Thomas will return for another title run at Malaysia’s sporting showpiece from October 11 to 14 alongside Keegan Bradley, Ryder Cup star Paul Casey, Japanese ace Hideki Matsuyama, Xander Schauffele and World Golf Hall of Fame members, Ernie Els and Davis Love III.

Thomas has a close affinity with the US$7 million CIMB Classic as it was at the prestigious event here that he claimed his maiden PGA TOUR victory in 2015. The long-hitting American successfully defended his title in 2016 and has since won nine PGA TOUR tournaments, including the 2017 FedExCup title, a major victory and Player of the Year honours in 2017.

In the current season on the PGA TOUR, the talented 25-year-old has won three times and also became World No. 1 for four weeks in May. When Thomas returns to the TPC Kuala Lumpur’s newly upgraded West course, he will be amongst the favourites as he is 60-under-par in 12 rounds at the venue.

In-form Bradley, who finished runner-up at the CIMB Classic last year, will return to Malaysia in winning mood after claiming the BMW Championship in a playoff on Monday for his fourth PGA TOUR title. It snapped a six-year title drought and saw him qualify for next week’s FedExCup finale, the TOUR Championship, in sixth place on the points standing. 

Rising star and world number 18 Xander Schauffele has also committed to take another crack at the CIMB Classic after his impressive equal third finish in his debut last year. The 2017-18 Rookie of the Year has five top-10s on the PGA TOUR this season, including a tied third on Monday which helped him qualify for the TOUR Championship which he won in style last year.

Thomas is looking forward to his return to Malaysia. He said: “I’m really excited to be heading back for the CIMB Classic. I have very fond memories of Kuala Lumpur, as it was where I had my first PGA TOUR victory in 2015, and then to successfully defend the title in 2016 was truly special. I look forward to the opportunity to become the first player to win the CIMB Classic three times! It will be fun to play on the newly renovated West course at TPC Kuala Lumpur. The golf course suits my game as I can take advantage of my length from off the tees, attack the pins and hopefully make a bunch of birdies. I can’t wait to get back to Malaysia and see all the fans who have supported me so well over the years.”

Other big names tipped to contend for the CIMB Classic title include world number 19 Casey, who is enjoying another stellar season on the PGA TOUR where he won the Valspar Championship in May. The Englishman, holder of 19 international titles, was also picked recently to represent Europe in the Ryder Cup later this month. He will be making his fifth successive appearance at the CIMB Classic, with a tied-seven last year being his best result at TPC Kuala Lumpur.

Matsuyama, 26, is a five-time PGA TOUR winner and currently ranked 20th in the world. Since making his debut at the CIMB Classic in 2013, the Japanese number one has thrilled local fans with top-five finishes over the past three editions including being runner-up to Thomas in 2016.

Veteran stars Els and Love III need little introduction as they hold a combined 119 international victories, including 19 and 21 PGA TOUR wins respectively. Els was appointed captain of the International Team for the 2019 Presidents Cup earlier this year, an event he has played on eight previous occasions.

The seven headliners will be joined by defending champion Pat Perez, who had earlier announced his intention to defend his CIMB Classic title where he won by four strokes over Bradley last year.

Todd Rhinehart, Vice President and Executive Director, PGA TOUR, said: “We are delighted to announce the first wave of star players for the 2018 CIMB Classic which comprises established stars on the PGA TOUR as well as World Golf Hall of Fame members. The CIMB Classic continues to drive the growth of the game in Malaysia and Southeast Asia and will also kick off an exciting three-tournament stretch in Asia for the PGA TOUR.”

The CIMB Classic will celebrate its ninth edition this year, with the sole PGA TOUR-sanctioned tournament in Southeast Asia being the second tournament of the new 2018-19 PGA TOUR Season.

Two Malaysian golfers will once again compete against the global stars from the PGA TOUR. One slot has been allocated to the winner of the CIMB National Championship which is scheduled for September 25 to 28 at TPC Kuala Lumpur’s East course. Subsequently, the highest ranked Malaysian on the Official World Golf Ranking as of October 1 will also earn the right to play in the CIMB Classic.

The PGA TOUR-sanctioned CIMB Classic features a limited field of 78 players comprising of the top 60 available players from the 2017-18 FedExCup points list, eight sponsor exemptions and the top-10 available players from the Asian Tour.

Tickets for the CIMB Classic is also now on sale. For more details on ticketing prices and to purchase online, please visit www.cimbclassic.com

About CIMB Group:   

CIMB Group is one of ASEAN’s leading universal bank, one of the largest investment banks in Asia and one of the largest Islamic banks in the world. As the fifth largest banking group in ASEAN, we have over 36,000 staff in 15 countries across ASEAN, Asia and beyond. CIMB Investment Bank provides market-leading conventional and Islamic financial advice for a tailored delivery of banking solutions to our clients. We have structured and executed award winning deals which showcase our ability to innovate and help our clients achieve their goals. CIMB also has an extensive retail banking network of around 830 branches serving more than 14 million customers. Beyond ASEAN, we also have presence in China & Hong Kong, India, Sri Lanka, Korea, the US and the UK. Read more about CIMB Group at www.cimb.com.

About Asian Tour

As the official sanctioning body for professional golf in Asia, the Asian Tour leads the development of golf across the region, enhancing the careers of its members while maintaining a commitment to the integrity of the game. The Asian Tour, through its membership of the International Federation of PGA Tours, is the only recognised pan-Asian professional golf tour in Asia. This unique feature positions the Asian Tour at the pinnacle of professional golf in Asia; providing its events with Official World Ranking status. Tour Partners include Rolex (Official Timekeeper), Panasonic (Official Consumer Electronics), Habitat for Humanity (Official Sustainable Development Partner), ECCO (Official Footwear Sponsor), Titleist and FootJoy (Official Web Partner), Bloomberg TV (Official International Media Partner), Bloomberg Businessweek Chinese (Official International Media Partner), Wall Street Journal (Official International Media Partner) and Sentosa in Singapore which is the Home of the Asian Tour which also has an office in Kuala Lumpur.

About PGA TOUR

By showcasing golf’s greatest players, the PGA TOUR engages, inspires and positively impacts our fans, partners and communities worldwide.The PGA TOUR co-sanctions more than 130 tournaments on the PGA TOUR, PGA TOUR Champions, Web.com Tour, PGA TOUR Latinoamérica, Mackenzie Tour-PGA TOUR Canada and PGA TOUR Series-China. Members on the PGA TOUR represent the world’s best players, hailing from 27 countries (88 members are from outside the United States). Worldwide, PGA TOUR tournaments are broadcast to more than 1 billion households in 226 countries and territories in 23 languages. Virtually all tournaments are organized as non-profit organizations to maximize charitable giving. In 2017, tournaments across all Tours generated a record of more than $180 million for local and national charitable organizations, bringing the all-time total to $2.65 billion.

The PGA TOUR's web site is PGATOUR.COM, the No. 1 site in golf, and the organization is headquartered in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.