KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 12 (Bernama) -- Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
TPC Kuala Lumpur
Purse: $7,000,000 Par/Yards: 36-36—72/7,005Weather: Mostly cloudy throughout the day with a few showers and thunderstorms developing in the afternoon. High of 90 degrees Fahrenheit/ 32 degrees Celsius with light wind at 4-8 mph NW. First-Round Leaderboard
Cameron Smith 64 (-8)
Poom Saksansin 65 (-7)
Xander Schauffele 65 (-7)
Keegan Bradley 65 (-7)Cameron Smith
In his first start of the 2017-18 PGA TOUR Season, Australian Cameron Smith opened with an 8-under 64 at TPC Kuala Lumpur, good enough for a one-shot lead over Poom Saksansin and Xander Schauffele. The opening-round 64 is two better than his previous best round in eight previous rounds at TPC Kuala Lumpur, a 66 in the first round of the 2015 CIMB Classic.
This is the first time that Smith has led or co-led following the first round of any tournament in his PGA TOUR career. In his previous 63 starts, his best position after 18 holes was T2 at the 2016 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, where he eventually finished T11. He has shot 64 two other times on TOUR, most recently in the first round of the 2017 Sony Open in Hawaii; his career-low round is a 63 in the final round of last season’s Wyndham Championship
Smith had his most successful PGA TOUR season in 2016-17, finishing 46 in the final FedExCup standings on the strength of four top 10s and his first career win at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans (with partner Jonas Blixt). The Zurich Classic was the first official PGA TOUR event to utilize a two-man team format, playing Foursomes and FourBall over the four days. At the age of 23 years, 8 months, 13 days, he became the fourth-youngest Australian to win on TOUR, behind Jason Day (22) and Adam Scott (23/twice).
Smith earned his PGA TOUR card by becoming a Special Temporary Member following his T4 finish at the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay. He then earned enough FedExCup points to finish in the top 125 of the nonmember FedExCup points list.
This is Smith’s third start at the CIMB Classic, where he finished T5 in 2014 and T37 in 2015.First-Round Leader Statistics
The first-round leader/co-leader has gone on to win two of seven previous editions of the CIMB Classic, the feat accomplished most recently by Justin Thomas, who shared the first-round lead last year with Derek Fathauer and Keegan Bradley after an opening 64.
The first-round leader at the CIMB Classic has never shot worse than 65, with Scott Piercy’s 62 in 2015 the lowest opening round in tournament history.
Brendan Steele co-led the Safeway Open last week with Tom Hoge and Tyler Duncan, and went on to win the tournament for the second-straight year.Poom Saksansin
Poom Saksansin is making his first start on the PGA TOUR. He birdied the opening hole (10) before making eight straight pars. He carded four straight birdies after the turn and closed with two birdies.
The last player to win in his first start on the PGA TOUR was Jim Benepe at the 1988 Beatrice Western Open
The Thai player is a two-time Asian Tour winner. He won his first title in Indonesia last year before injuring his back. He returned to his best form when he won the TAKE Solutions Masters in India in August. Also finished tied second in Japan last month.
Earlier in his career, Poom played mostly on the Asian Development Tour (ADT) where he won once in 2015. Since then, his career has been on the upswing. He turned professional in 2013 at the age of 20 because he did not want to continue receiving financial support from his parents.Xander Schauffele
Making his first start of the season, and first start since becoming the first rookie to win the TOUR Championship, Xander Schauffele opened with a bogey-free 65 at the CIMB Classic, one shot off Cameron Smith’s lead. Schauffele’s best position through 18 holes previously was T2 after the first round of last season’s U.S. Open at Erin Hills, where he eventually finished T5.
Schauffele was named PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year, as voted by his peers, after winning twice last season, including the FedExCup Playoffs finale, the TOUR Championship and The Greenbrier Classic. He finished inside the top 20 in three of four FedExCup Playoffs event and claimed top-five finishes at the U.S. Open and Sanderson Farms Championship, both T5s. His win at East Lake propelled him to a third-place finish in the final FedExCup standings.
Schauffele was born in La Jolla, California.His mother is half Taiwanese (grew up in Japan) and his father is half French and German.
He is part of golf’s high school Class of 2011 that includes, among others, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Emiliano Grillo and Daniel Berger.
This is Schauffele’s first start in the CIMB Classic.Keegan Bradley
Making his fourth start in the CIMB Classic, American Keegan Bradley opened with a 65 and is one shot off of the pace set by Cameron Smith. Bradley has a history of getting off to hot starts at this event, never having shot worse than 66 in the first round. Last year, Bradley opened with a 64 and was tied for the lead on his way to a sixth-place finish. He also recorded a top 10 at the CIMB Classic in 2013, when he also opened with 65.
His T2 position through the first round is Bradley’s best standing through 18 holes since he was tied for the lead last year.
Bradley, a three-time winner on the PGA TOUR, including the 2011 PGA Championship, is coming off of his best season since 2013-14, finishing 47th in the FedExCup.Miscellaneous Notes
Brendan Steele, coming off of his second-straight win at the Safeway Open, shot an opening-round 67 and is three off the lead. Steele finished T26 in the CIMB Classic last year coming in off a victory.
Justin Thomas, the 2016-17 PGA TOUR Player of the Year and FedExCup champion opened with a 2-under 70, his second-worst round in his CIMB Classic career. The two-time defending champion owns the lowest stroke average at this event (minimum of eight rounds), averaging 65.88 per round coming into 2017. He is attempting to become the first player since Steve Stricker at the John Deere Classic (2009-11) to win the same event three years in a row.
Kevin Na opened with a 6-under 66 that included an eagle on the par-4 16th hole from 116 yards with a 54-degree wedge.
Indian player Anirban Lahiri, who held a four-shot lead through 54-holes at this event last year, opened with a 5-under 67.
Davis Love III, 53, recently inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame, opened with a 5-under 67 in his first start of the season.CIMB Classic and the FedExCup
CIMB Classic is a 72-hole stroke play event combining players from three official sanctioning bodies – the PGA TOUR, the Asian Tour and the Professional Golf Association of Malaysia (PGAM). The tournament, in its eighth year, brings together top players from the PGA TOUR’s FedExCup standings, top players from the Asian Tour Order of Merit and top players from Malaysia. The tournament is held at TPC Kuala Lumpur and is the only official FedExCup event on the PGA TOUR to be held in Southeast Asia with PGA TOUR members receiving official FedExCup points as part of the 2017-2018 PGA TOUR season. This is the fifth year that FedExCup points will be awarded at the event.
The CIMB Classic is the second event of the 2017-18 PGA TOUR season and is part of eight events during the fall of 2017, all of which will award FedExCup points. After a seven-week break, the season will resume in January with the traditional swing through Hawaii before moving to the West Coast. The FedExCup Playoffs once again features four events and concludes in September with the TOUR Championship and the crowning of the FedExCup champion.
In addition to 500 FedExCup points and a two-year PGA TOUR exemption, the winner this week (if not previously eligible) receives invitations to the 2018 Sentry Tournament of Champions, a winners-only event in January, along with two major championships (Masters Tournament and PGA Championship) and THE PLAYERS Championship. The player would also earn exemptions into six additional invitational events on the PGA TOUR.
Every week is significant in the race for the FedExCup – three of the seven winners from the fall calendar of 2016 (Justin Thomas, Hideki Matsuyama and Pat Perez) qualified for the TOUR Championship. The other four winners advanced through at least the second of four Playoffs events (Brendan Steele, Cody Gribble, Rod Pampling and Mackenzie Hughes).
Earlier this year in May, FedEx extended its contract as sponsor of the FedExCup by 10 years through 2027.TPC Kuala Lumpur
In 2016, TPC Kuala Lumpur marked a milestone in the club’s history with its successful acquisition of the licensing rights as Southeast Asia’s first golf facility to join the PGA TOUR’s prestigious Tournament Players Club (TPC) Network. TPC Kuala Lumpur joins the highly acclaimed network of golf courses affiliated with the PGA TOUR, most of which are based in the United States. As home of the CIMB Classic, TPC Kuala Lumpur will also hold the distinction of being Southeast Asia’s first TPC-branded facility to ever host an official PGA TOUR event.
R1: Cameron Smith (64), Poom Ssaksansin (65), Xander Schauffele (65), Gary Woodland (66), Pat Perez (66), Brendan Steele (67), C.T. Pan (70)
Scoring Averages at the par-72 Silverado Resort and Spa (North): Front 9 Back 9 Total Cumulative
R1: 34.859 36.091 70.950Click here for CIMB Classic Round 1 ResultClick here for CIMB Classic Round 2 Groupings and Starting TimeSource : CIMB Group
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