Thomas hunts for third title
Published on: Thursday, October 11, 2018

Kuala Lumpur: The world's number four golfer, Justin Thomas is set to begin his hunt for his third CIMB Classic title at the TPC's West Course in Bukit Kiara, beginning Thursday.The former world number one and 2017 PGA Championship winner is certainly very comfortable with the course after having won two titles (2015 & 2016) in his three appearances.

"This is always going to be a special place to me, the place I got my first PGA Tour victory and that is very, very special. Every time I look at that trophy in my office at home, it brings back a lot of great memories, anytime I see videos or clips of it…It was a very instrumental part of my career, for sure.

"I think being a little bit of a longer hitter you have an advantage, but I mean, the fact of the matter is that I have just played well the years I played here. I think my wedge game is a strong suit of mine and you have a lot of wedges out here, so I have been able to take advantage of that," he told in the pre-tournament press conference here, Wednesday.

The 24-year-old American said that there is also not very much different about the course after the 10 months of major renovation since the end of last year, but praised the staff for maintaining the originality and their workmanship.

"It is the same golf course, nothing about it's changed. It is just that the grass, the fairways are different, conditions are different. I mean, the fact that (how) we are going to be playing the ball is a huge difference.

"I play on (this type of grass) in Florida a lot and we play quite often on Tour. Hats off go to the staff…Tearing a course up or re-grassing, resurfacing a place, it takes a lot of work, it takes a lot of time and people that have never been here have no idea that it was ever anything different," the nine time PGA Tour winner said.

Meanwhile, defending champion Pat Perez doesn't look interested in giving away his title to his compatriot, as the 42-year-old aims to retain the title, to repeat the feat of Thomas and Ryan Moore (2013 & 2014) for a second consecutive win.

However, the world's number 56 player does not want to extra put pressure on himself, as the challenge is different every time, especially when expecting tough challenges from Thomas, Keegan Bradley, Ryan Moore and Brandt Snedeker.

"I played phenomenally last year and I am going to have to do that again. With the players in this field, I am going to have to do it again…Every year the field gets better and better and the players get better and better and it is hard to win.

"Like I said, I am excited to be back and I will do everything I can to try and have another great week. For me, the CIMB Classic is always special because this is the first tournament I played after my shoulder surgery back in 2016, before getting back to my winning ways," he said.

The ninth edition of CIMB Classic features a limited field of 78 players (no cut), comprising the top 60 available players from the 2017-18 FedExCup points list, eight sponsor exemptions and the top ten available players from the Asian Tour. – Bernama


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