CIMB Classic 2015
Round 4 - Justin Thomas wins first PGA Tour titleNovember 2, 2015
Justin Thomas overcame a double bogey on the 14th and some nervous moments on the final hole Sunday to win the CIMB Classic for his first PGA Tour title.
The 22-year-old American holed a 6-foot par putt on the par-5 18th for a one-stroke victory over Australian star Adam Scott. Thomas shot a 6-under 66 for a tournament-record 26-under 262 total at Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club.
Thomas, who had a course-record 61 in the second round, seemed to have blown his chances when he hit into the water at 14, but immediately rallied with three consecutive birdies to take the outright lead.
Scott, playing two groups ahead, had an eagle and seven birdies in his closing 63.
Thomas led by a stroke coming to the par-5 final hole, which he had birdied on Saturday, but the required par did not come easily. He drove right of the fairway and his approach found the bunker short of the green. He blasted out to 20 feet, raced his first putt past the hole and holed the comebacker for the breakthrough victory.
''I still can't believe what happened,'' Thomas said. "I made that par to clinch the title. ''I don't care how I got it done, it just feels awesome,''
Thomas, a close friend of second-ranked Jordan Spieth, continued the early season trend of players in their early 20s claiming their first PGA Tour victories, after Emiliano Grillo at Silverado and Smylie Kaufman in Las Vegas.
The former Alabama star from Kentucky said he had been struggling with downhill lies, and that's what caused the double bogey at 14.
''I had a big body of water in front of the green, but I told myself I've been controlling the tournament so I should not worry too much,'' Thomas said. ''I knew I had four more holes to try to make some more birdies and was fortunate enough get birdies in three of the last four holes.''
Scott had a shot at eagle on the last, but the putt was well off target, and that cost him a chance of forcing a playoff.
''Look, 35-footers breaking 4 feet are not gimmes. I threw everything I could at it today. I'm playing well, and that's nice, because I haven't played that well for a while,'' Scott said.
He was aiming to take his form in Malaysia into next week's World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions in China.
''It's motivating for sure. I want to get up there and play and show them that the old dog's still got something,'' Scott said.
American Kevin Na and Brendan Steele tied for third at 24-under. Na had a 67, and Steele shot 68.
Na lipped out short putts at 16 and 17. He lost a playoff at Silverado and tied for second in Las Vegas in the previous two events. He also tied for second last year in Malaysia, and has eight seconds and seven thirds on the tour against just one win.
Two-time defending champion Ryan Moore had a 69 to tie for 10th at 17 under.
Round 3 - Justin Thomas & Brendan Steele share leadOctober 31, 2015
Justin Thomas birdied the final two holes to shoot a 5-under 67 at the CIMB Classic on Saturday and a share of the lead with American compatriot Brendan Steele going into the final round of the PGA Tour's Malaysian event.
Second-round leader Thomas had an eventful round of eight birdies and three bogeys at Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club to reach 20-under 196, level with Steele, who had a bogey-free 66.
They were a shot clear of last year's runner-up Kevin Na, who had the equal-best round of the day with a 64.
With only four strokes separating the top nine players, including former No.1 Adam Scott, and the course offering plenty of opportunities to pick up strokes, a close finish looms on Sunday.
Scott (66) and first-round leader Scott Piercy (69) were tied at 16-under, a shot behind a group of four players: Americans James Hahn (64), Brian Harman (66) and Spencer Levin (68) plus Japan's Hideki Matsuyama (68).
Steele has 13 birdies, an eagle and no bogeys over the second and third rounds, and that flawless performance has put him position to push for his second victory on tour, after the 2011 Texas Open.
Earlier this month, he also led into the final round of the Frys.com Open only to slide out of contention with a final-round 76.
''I learned a lot from it,'' Steele said. ''Feel like I'm in a better place now, mentally. I'll be trying to be a little bit more patient and a little bit more positive, not kind of put so much pressure on myself.''
Thomas, who is chasing his maiden tour title, rued a series of putts that came close but didn't drop.
''This is where you want to put yourself at every event,'' Thomas said. ''I'm just going to use my past learning experiences in the other events I've played in and just try to go out there and hit a bunch of fairways.
''I'm not driving too well and if I can hit more fairways, I can attack a little bit more. That is what I'll aim for tomorrow. I'm just going to focus on that and try to go make as many birdies as I can.''
Na, the 32-year-old Korean American who has a history of coming close to tournament titles but missing the big prize, feels his luck may have turned after an extraordinary recovery at the par-5 10th hole.
He drove into the rough, his next shot hit a tree than a cart path and bounced back among the trees, but his approach shot to the green found the hole for a remarkable birdie.
''Eight times in my career I finished second,'' Na said. ''I got to keep the streak alive. Worst case, I win, right?'' joked Na, who finished runner-up to Ryan Moore a year ago.
''I've been unlucky a few times. But you know what? The last few weeks I've never felt so comfortable coming down the stretch. I've been getting a lot of compliments from my friends and coaches and family members, friends, saying how comfortable I looked.''
Two-time defending champion Moore had his best round of the tournament with a 66 to be six shots off the pace and in contention to emulate Steve Stricker as the only player win a PGA Tour event three straight years. Stricker won the John Deere Classic from 2009-2011.
Round 2 - Justin Thomas leads after record 61October 30, 2015
Justin Thomas had an eagle and nine birdies in shooting a course-record 61 at the CIMB Classic on Friday, taking the lead into the weekend at the PGA Tour's event in Malaysia.
Thomas moved to 15-under 129 at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club for a one-stroke lead on American compatriot Brendan Steele, who shot a 63 and matched Thomas by having an eagle at the par-5 3rd hole.
First-round leader Scott Piercy had two bogeys on the front nine to shoot a 69 and was in a share of third place, two shots off the leader, along with Spencer Levin, who had a round of 64, and Japan's Hideki Matsuyama, who shot 66.
Former No.1 Adam Scott was at 10 under, and two-time defending champion Ryan Moore at 8 under.
For Thomas, a 22-year-old from Louisville, Kentucky, this is the third time he has led at the halfway point of a tour event, but is still seeking his first victory.
His superb round, which included six birdies in a seven-hole stretch from No.9 to 15, disguised his physical struggles as he coped with jetlag and the oppressive tropical heat.
''Thank God for the air-conditioning,'' he joked as he walked into his post-round media conference.
''I never have been to this part of the world before and my body is still adjusting. Today was a little better. I even slept in, until 5.30 a.m.''
The extra sleep paid off as he briefly threatened the magical score of 59, requiring birdies from two of the last three holes, but he could not get it done.
Nick Watney also shot a 61 in this tournament in 2012 but that was at a different course with a par of 71.
If Thomas keeps up this form, he could comfortably break the tournament record score of 23-under, set by Bo van Pelt in 2011.
''Being five-under through the first five holes - which are pretty scoreable - made a difference,'' said Thomas, whose previous low round was also a 61 at the par-70 Sony Open in Hawaii.
''That got me in that attack mind frame. I did well and gave myself easy birdie putts.''
Piercy also struggled in the heat, slipping down the leaderboard after having been at 13-under following three straight birdies to start his round.
''The heat got to me a little bit today and I made some mistakes,'' Piercy said.
''It's hard to follow-up 10-under anyways. So, I felt like I did pretty well. It wasn't terrible, terrible, it was just a little out of sync and when you're firing on everything and then out of sync a little bit, seems like it's really bad, but it's really not that bad.''
Among other notable players, Sergio Garcia had a 67 to be at 8 under, seven off the pace; Paul Casey (69) and Henrik Stenson (67) were a further stroke back, while Padraig Harrington had an even-par 72 and was at 4-under, a shot ahead of Ernie Els (69).
Round 1 - Scott Piercy takes opening honoursOctober 30, 2015
Scott Piercy allied some crisp putting to solid tee-to-green play and shot a flawless 10-under 62 on Thursday to take a three-stroke lead after the first round of the PGA Tour's CIMB Classic.
The American made 10 birdies at the Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club to pull away from Japan's Hideki Matsuyama, who had eight birdies and a bogey in his 65.
Piercy's 10-under score matched the tournament record set by Nick Watney, who had a 61 at the par-71 Mines Resort and Golf Club in 2012.
Jason Gore was tied for third on 66 with American compatriots Keagan Bradley and Charles Howell III plus Germany's Alex Cejka and Cameron Smith of Australia. Eight players shared eighth place on 67, including last year's runner up Kevin Na.
Two-time defending champion Ryan Moore was again in contention, tied for seventh with seven others on five-under 67.
Adam Scott was tied for 16th on 68 in a group of 10 players including Padraig Harrington and Scott Brown, who made up for an earlier double bogey by sinking a hole-in-one on the par-3 15th and winning a BMW sports car as reward.
Piercy's 10-under was his lowest round since a closing 61 at the Phoenix Open two years ago.
The Las Vegas native, who turns 37 next week, started brightly with birdies on the first three holes and also finished well with birdies on 17 and 18.
Piercy began the new PGA season with a tie for 25th at the Shriners Hospitals for Children, and blamed bad putting for disguising a game he otherwise felt ''was in a good spot.''
''I made the putts I didn't last week and got a little lucky as well,'' Piercy said.
One of the ''lucky'' holes was the par-4 13th, where his approach shot dropped ten feet below the green, but he managed to chip in for birdie.
''It was good fortune, a good break and it was nice to see the ball go in,'' said Piercy, who has three PGA Tour victories, including the Barbasol Championship in July.
''I only missed three or four greens today so if you got 14 chances, you're doing pretty good.''
Matsuyama said he aimed to get plenty of rest ahead of another round Friday in the draining tropical heat.
''In this weather, you can't beat yourself too much. I'll practice a little bit and head back to the hotel,'' said the 23-year-old Japanese.
''I hit my driver really well today and that was the reason for my low score. This is my third time here and I love the course. Playing the last couple of years prepared me for that.''
Former world No. 1 Scott was satisfied with his 68 and being in a good position to challenge for the lead in the coming days.
The Australian, now 16th in the world, had an eagle on the par-5 5th but also bogeys at 7 and 12.
''The greens are rolling so you could really make some putts and I should have done better but overall, I'm happy,'' Scott said.
''We have to hit good shots as there are some trick lies and you have to play solid. You need to play good shots to get a good score.''