Pat Perez captures CIMB Classic title

Pat Perez sealed his first title in almost a year courtesy of a strong start with three birdies in the first four holes. Photo Courtesy: PXG
Pat Perez sealed his first title in almost a year courtesy of a strong start with three birdies in the first four holes. Photo Courtesy: PXG

By Jay Betsill

41-year old Pat Perez cruised to a four-shot victory with a final round 69 at the CIMB Classic at TPC Kuala Lampur.

“Unreal. I think I’m the last guy that expected to win this week, to be honest with you. I did not think I was going to win this week,” Perez said, following his win. “I really can’t explain it, it’s been an amazing 12 months. I can’t explain it, but I hope it continues.”

The win was the third of his career, joining the 2009 CareerBuilder Challenge and last season’s OHL Mayokob Classic.

Perez’s 24-under earned him the $1.26 million prize purse, 500 FedExCup points and a spot in April’s Masters.

2011 PGA Championship winner Keegan Bradley was the runner-up.

Two-time defending CIMB Classic champion Justin Thomas finished at 11-under to tie for 17th. Thomas was recently named PGA Tour Player of the Year from last season that began with his win in Malaysia.

Notables in the field included reigning PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Xander Schauffele (T3, -17), Hideki Matsuyama (T5, -16), Danny Lee (T7, -14), last week’s Safeway Open champion Brendan Steele (T13, -12), Stewart Cink (T13, -12), Davis Love III (T28, -8) and Charl Schwartzel (T48, -4).

Next up on the PGA Tour is The CJ Cup @ Nine Bridges.

The CJ Cup @ Nine Bridges is a new official 2017-18 PGA TOUR event offering 500 FedExCup points to the winner and feature a purse of $9.25 million. The new event features a field of 78 players, with 60 coming from the PGA TOUR FedExCup points list.

“The addition of  The CJ Cup @ Nine Bridges to our schedule gives us three strong tournaments in consecutive weeks in Asia, and they will play a significant role in shaping the early part of the FedExCup season and the FedExCup chase overall,” PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan said. “The CJ Group is well-trusted and highly valued in the global marketplace. We couldn’t be happier to partner with such a strong, vibrant company that taps into the lives of consumers worldwide through food and food service, bio pharmaceuticals, homeshopping and logistics, entertainment and media, and now golf.”

“South Korea is a beautiful country with a rich golf tradition,” Monahan added. “Many of our players who have been to the country already know that, and those who haven’t are in for a treat. The fact that valuable FedExCup points will be offered only enhances this tournament’s position on our schedule.”

Familiar faces in the inaugural event include Justin Thomas, Jason Day, Adam Scott, Ernie Els, Pat Perez, Russell Henley, Patrick Reed, Daniel Berger and the reigning The Players Championship winner Si Woo Kim.

The CJ Cup @ Nine Bridges airs Wednesday-Saturday, 9 p.m. – 1 a.m. CT on Golf Channel.