Justin Thomas successful in CIMB defence

The American finished three clear of Hideki Matsuyama at TPC Kuala Lumpur

Justin Thomas wins CIMB Classic
Justin Thomas wins CIMB Classic
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Justin Thomas fired a superb closing round of 64 at TPC Kuala Lumpur to successfully defend his CIMB Classic title. The American finished three clear of Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama.

Justin Thomas began the final round at TPC Kuala Lumpur trailing India’s Anirban Lahiri by four shots. But that gap was soon wiped out as Lahiri stumbled to a quadruple bogey on the third hole. Thomas was quick to take advantage on the par-3 4th, firing an excellent tee shot to within a few feet of the cup and making birdie. A further birdie at the next hole and Thomas was in control.

Thomas birdied the 9th to make the turn at 20-under-par for the tournament. Although Lahiri was battling strongly, he was unable to get back on terms with the young defending champion. A birdie at the 16th and another at the 17th, sealed Thomas’ position at the top of the board. He held steady down the home hole and secured his second straight CIMB Classic title.

“We stuck to our game-plan. I made some putts, some key up and downs,” he said. “It feels great and I’m just so excited about getting back to Kapalua (for the Tournament of Champions.)”

Hideki Matsuyama made a great putt on the final green to post a final round of 66 and break clear of a tie for second place. He finished on 21-under, alone in second. Lahiri and Derek Fathauer were tied for third.

3 Talking points from the CIMB Classic

1 – Justin Thomas secured his second win on the PGA Tour, but it wouldn’t have been possible without a remarkable finish on Saturday. Seemingly out of contention after a poor first half to his third round, Thomas turned on the afterburners on the run for home. He birdied his last five holes to give himself a chance on Sunday. “Those holes were key,” he said. “Possibly the best five holes I’ve played in my life.” With the victory, Thomas has taken the early lead in the 2016/17 FedEx Cup race.

2 – Anirban Lahiri did extremely well to bounce back from his disastrous quadruple bogey nine on the 3rd hole in the final round. He played the remaining holes at TPC Kuala Lumpur in four-under-par to limit the damage and claim a share of third, plus a cheque for $406,000.

3 – It was a disappointing final day for Scotland’s Russell Knox. He began the round in contention, just four off the pace. But he struggled on Sunday and carded a closing 74 to fall into a tie for 10th place. He finished one clear of Ian Poulter who made a good return to competitive golf, finishing on a four-round total of 12-under-par.

Ian Poulter swing analysis video:

CIMB Classic TPC Kuala Lumpur, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Oct 20-23 Purse $7,000,000, par 72

1    Justin Thomas (USA)    64    66    71    64    265    $1,260,000 2    Hideki Matsuyama (Jap) 69    64    69    66    268    $756,000 T3    Derek Fathauer (USA)    64    70    68    67    269    $406,000 T3    Anirban Lahiri (Ind)    66    66    65    72    269    $406,000 5    Marc Leishman (Aus)    69    65    71    66    271    $280,000 6    Keegan Bradley (USA)    64    72    68    68    272    $252,000 T7    Scott Hend (Aus)        74    69    63    67    273    $225,750 T7    Tyrone Van Aswegen (RSA) 69 70    66    68    273    $225,750 9    James Hahn (USA)    69    64    69    72    274    $203,000

Note: Player score in bold signifies Titleist ball usage

Fergus Bisset
Contributing Editor

Fergus is a golf obsessive and 1-handicapper. Growing up in the North East of Scotland, golf runs through his veins and his passion for the sport was bolstered during his time at St Andrews university studying history. He went on to earn a post graduate diploma from the London School of Journalism. Fergus has worked for Golf Monthly since 2004 and has written two books on the game; "Great Golf Debates" together with Jezz Ellwood of Golf Monthly and "The Ultimate Golf Book" together with Neil Tappin (also of Golf Monthly)... Fergus once shanked a ball from just over Granny Clark's Wynd on the 18th of the Old Course that struck the St Andrews Golf Club and rebounded into the Valley of Sin, from where he saved par. Who says there's no golfing god?