Fantasy Golf: CIMB Preview


Brendan Steele claimed the first victory in the 2016-17 season last week at the Safeway Open and returns to the CIMB Classic where he led after 54 holes last year. See where he ranks against a very solid field at TPC Kuala Lumpur.


2015-16 Winners (at time of victory)


In 2014-15 there were 14 players in their 20’s who won tournaments. They accounted for a whopping 24 victories in 47 events.

In 2015-16, there were 13 players who accounted for 19 victories over 47 events.

Under-30 Winners

multiple winners in bold

Emiliano Grillo, 23;
Smylie Kaufman, 23; Shriners
Justin Thomas, 22; CIMB
Peter Malnati, 28; SFC
Jordan Spieth, 22; HTOC, DEAN & DELUCA at Colonial
Hideki Matsuyama, 23; WMPO
Jason Day, 28; API, WGC-Dell Match Play, THE PLAYERS
Danny Willett, 28; Masters
Branden Grace, 27; RBC Heritage
Daniel Berger, 23; FESJC
Si Woo Kim, 21; Wyndham
Patrick Reed, 26; Barclays
Rory McIlroy, 27; DBC, The TOUR Championship

Prime-Time Players

The guys between 30-39 years of age produced 16 multiple champions in 17 events in 2014-15.

Last year, 22 players accounted for 26 wins in this category.

Winners, 30-39

Russell Knox, 31; HSBC Champions, Travelers
Graeme McDowell, 36; OHL Mayakoba
Kevin Kisner, 31; RSM Classic
Fabian Gomez, 37; Sony Open
Jason Dufner, 38; CB Challenge
Brandt Snedeker, 35; Farmers Insurance Open
Vaughn Taylor, 39; AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am
Bubba Watson, 37; Northern Trust Open
Adam Scott, 35; Honda Classic, WGC-Cadillac Championship
Charl Schwartzel, 31; Valspar
Jim Herman, 38; Shell Houston Open
Charley Hoffman, 39; Valero Texas Open
Brian Stuard, 33; Zurich Classic
James Hahn, 34; Wells Fargo Championship
Sergio Garcia, 36; AT&T Byron Nelson
William McGirt, 36; Memorial
Dustin Johnson, 31; U.S. Open, WGC-BI, BMW
Billy Hurley, III, 34; Quicken Loans National
Aaron Baddeley, 35; Barbasol Championship
Jhonattan Vegas, 31; RBC Canadian Open
Jimmy Walker, 37; PGA Championship
Ryan Moore, 33; John Deere Classic

Old Guard

There were only four winners in 2014-15 from 47 events (Furyk, Cejka, Love III and Harrington).

Winners, 40-plus

Greg Chalmers, 42; Barracuda Championship
Henrik Stenson, 40; The Open Championship

This is a stark reminder that the “name” doesn’t automatically translate in fantasy golf.

No wins from top 100 OWGR players Mickelson, Furyk, Westwood, Stricker or Kelly.


In 2014-15 the only rookie to pick up a first-place check was Canadian Nick Taylor.

In 2015-16, that number doubled after the first two events of the season yet didn’t add one until the final regular season event, the Wyndham Championship, when reclassified rookie Si Woo Kim won.

Emiliano Grillo;
Smylie Kaufman; Shriners
Si Woo Kim; Wyndham

Rookies in the FEC

Remember, 2014 was the only year a rookie has NOT found a spot in The Tour Championship.

In 2015-16, six players made the leap.

Smylie Kaufman
Emiliano Grillo*
Patton Kizzire
Harold Varner, III
Brett Stegmaier
Michael Kim

*Only Grillo advanced to East Lake

My thought on rookies is quite simple. If you’re good enough, you’re old enough. Grillo had won on multiple Tours around the world and has done his time. That could be a clue in finding diamonds in the rough to begin the new season.


First-Time Winners

Rookies, journeyman, up-and-comers, I’ll keep track of them all. It’s a life-changer.

2013: 12
2014: 10
2015: 11
2016: 16

Emiliano Grillo (
Smylie Kaufman (Shriners)
Justin Thomas (CIMB)
Peter Malnati (SFC)
Russell Knox (WGC-HSBC Champions)
Kevin Kisner (RSM)
Tony Finau (PRO)
Jim Herman (SHO)
Danny Willett (Masters)
Branden Grace (RBC Heritage)
Brian Stuard (Zurich Classic)
William McGirt (Memorial)
Daniel Berger (FESJC)
Billy Hurley, III (QLN)
Greg Chalmers (Barracuda) in his 386th event!
Si Woo Kim (Wyndham)

Interesting to note that almost one third of the events last season were won by first-timers. The history above points out that this is NOT a normal occurrence and should not be dismissed. With the help of technology, trainers, analysts, psychologists and the rest, it’s never been more wide open.


This Week

TPC Kuala Lumpur has a new identity in the golfing world but features the same course as been in play for the last three years.

Gamers, the European Tour played an event here last in 2015 (Malaysian Maybank) but the 2016 edition was NOT on this track. The results of this year’s event won’t matter one bit.

It’s a pretty simple formula this week for putting lineups together: Find big boys that can go low. Justin Thomas made 30 birdies and two eagles last year and shot 26-under, the tournament record. He also made NOYNE birdies and an eagle for 61, the course record, in another round. He only won by a shot.

This is the fourth year in a row for this event at this track so the premium players are figuring it out. But remember Thomas was a maiden here and had no problem dismantling the barely 7,000 yards. I don’t get to wrapped up in the Asian up-and-comers who have played well lately because of the field they are up against. Of the OWGR top 50, 15 players make up this field of 78 and that does NOT include Steele or Si Woo Kim.

Make sure you’re aware of the 12-hour time difference as well if you’re shuffling players in the PGA Tour’s fantasy game. When MOST of you wake up on Sunday morning, the tournament will be well over, so stay off social media if you’re going to watch later!

Top 25 Finishers from 2015

01 Justin Thomas
02 Adam Scott
03 Kevin Na
03 Brendan Steele
05 Hideki Matsuyama
06 James Hahn
07 Brian Harman
07 Scott Piercy
09 Tony Finau
10 Jim Herman
10 Charles Howell III
10 Ryan Moore
10 Patrick Reed
14 David Lingmerth
17 Alex Cejka
17 Branden Grace
17 Spencer Levin
21 Russel Knox
21 Anirban Lahiri
24 Paul Casey
24 Sergio Garcia
24 Hudwon Swafford


Will return in two weeks when the next full-field event is played.

Good luck!






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