Tuesday , October 27, 2015

Pat Perez In Kuala Lumpur For CIMB Classic

Coming off a missed cut at TPC Summerlin, Pat Perez hopped a Sunday night flight out of Las Vegas, connected in Los Angeles and made the 21-hour trek to Malaysia for the sixth-annual CIMB Classic at Kuala Lumpur Golf and Countfy Club.

This marks Perez’s third trek to Malaysia for what is the first ever tournament sanctioned by the PGA Tour in Southeast Asia. Beginning in 2013, the CIMB Classic gained official status on the PGA Tour, the field was increased to 78 players and FedExCup points are in play—as is a $7M purse.

Perez wrapped last year’s CIMB Classic T33, after shooting 69-69 on the weekend and his best finish came in 2012 where he placed 9th, shooting 67-68-68-65.

Like last year, Perez rolls overseas on the heels of two missed cuts—shooting 70-77 at the Frys.com Open in Napa mid-October and 74-70 at TPC Summerlin for last week’s Shriners Hospital for Children Open in Las Vegas. 

Perez was two-under early on Thursday at Summerlin but a bogey-double bogey stretch set him back; three-putting on the par-five sixteenth after a birdie opportunity rolled long and wide, then finding water with his tee shot on the par-three seventeenth.

Perez found himself five under with three to play, but went birdie-par-birdie over holes seven, eight and nine to get back to plus-three on the day. On Friday, the long road to even as Perez was two-over early, but scrapped back with birdies on the par-three fifth and par-five ninth, leaving him even at the turn. 

Perez capitalized on both back nine par-fives, with birdies on No. 13 and No. 16 but it wasn’t enough to overcome those two doubles on Thursday. Perez bogeyed the par-four eighteenth, finishing with a second round 70.

Coming off a 26-event season in 2014-2015—where Perez’s FedExCup Playoffs run ended T45 at the BWM Championship late September—Napa Valley and Sin City aren’t necessarily the easiest, distraction-free places to refocus, getting the 2015-2016 PGA Tour season off to a hot start.

Conversely, Kaula Lumpur has proven to be a solid reset for Perez the two times he’s played the CIMB Classic. 

The lengthy travel (almost a full day in the air) and time change (losing 15 hours) make for a hit-the-ground-running type of entrance and event with lots of down time and few distractions. Action kicks off Thursday morning and win no cut this week, the entire field will play 72 holes and doesn’t face the pressure of thinking about seeing the weekend. 

Kuala Lumpur G&CC (West) is a par-72 measuring 6,985 yards and has now hosted both PGA Tour and European Tour events. The Malaysian Open has had seven events there and the LPGA has an even there, as well.

Charity-wise the CIMB Foundation supports some 130 charities, with emphasis on projects relating to community development, education and sports. In addition to developing junior golf in Southeast Asia, the foundation also sponsors programs in squash, soccer and cycling.

Tee times have been announced. Perez goes off No. 1 at 8:35 a.m. local time and off No. 10 at 9:35 a.m. local on Friday. He’ll be paired with Scott Brown and SSP Chawrasia both days. 

GolfChannel will handle all coverage of the CIMB Classic. With the time change, Perez’s tee times translate to 8:35 p.m. ET on Wednesday and 9:35 p.m. ET on Thursday as Kuala Lumpur is a dozen hours ahead of Eastern standard time. 

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