Woodland, Moore headed for playoff
After a day of constant lead changes and rain delays, Gary Woodland and Ryan Moore will have to wait one more day to decide who takes home the CIMB Classic trophy.
Woodland and Moore finished tied for the lead at 14-under 274 after the final round on Sunday, a stroke ahead of Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Chris Stroud at 13 under. The sudden-death playoff was postponed until Monday morning due to darkness.
In a steady rain with shadows being cast by the floodlights overhead, Woodland had a chance to win the title on the 18th hole but missed a 10-foot birdie putt just wide by an inch.
"I thought I made it when I looked up and it just broke too much at the end there," he said. "But it was a tough day and obviously to come down to the last putt, obviously I’d like to have made it."
Moore, the co-overnight leader, made a nice up-and-down recovery after hitting into the rough to salvage par and force the playoff.
"I was scrambling there on the last hole just to somehow make a par and kind of see what happens at that point, and fortunately, I still get another shot at it," he said.
The back nine was filled with suspense as the names atop the leaderboard kept shuffling back and forth and thunderstorms twice delayed play for a total of about 3 hours.
Woodland, Moore and Kiradech made the turn with a share of the lead, but Woodland moved one clear with a 10-foot birdie putt on the 10th hole–his first outright lead of the tournament. He didn’t hold onto it for long, however, bogeying the 11th to move back into a three-way tie.
Kiradech also had chances to move ahead with two birdie putts within six feet on the 11th and 12th holes that he missed by inches. On the next hole, a much longer birdie putt caught the outside edge of the hole and curled away, causing the Thai golfer to cringe and drop his head in frustration.
Woodland birdied again on the 14th to go up a stroke before play was suspended by lightning for the second time, with only nine golfers left on the course.
When they returned to the course in a driving rain, however, Moore holed a 4-footer for birdie on the 16th to tie it up again and both players parred the rest of the way.
Both Woodland and Moore are aiming for their third PGA Tour title.
Woodland, whose world golf ranking had dipped to 268th this summer, has been in excellent form since August when he won the Reno-Tahoe Open and earned a last-minute spot in the PGA Championship. He then finished in a tie for second behind Adam Scott at The Barclays a couple weeks later.
Moore is coming off a top-10 finish at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas last weekend, an event he won in 2012.
"Obviously we’re both playing really well," Woodland said. "We’re going to come out and you’re going to try to have to make birdies because Ryan is going to do that and I’m going to try to do the same.
"Changing a flight is not the end of the world to come back and have a playoff tomorrow."
For Kiradech, who won the Malaysian Open title earlier this year on the same course in Kuala Lumpur, it was a lost opportunity to become the first Thai winner on the PGA Tour and earn a two-year tour exemption and invitations to the Masters, PGA Championship and a host of other lucrative tournaments.
He said he let his nerves get to him down the stretch.
"The front nine, I played good golf, just concentrate on the greens, didn’t look for the results, just tried to play my best golf. When the back nine (came), I have the chance to win. Every time I look at a scoreboard, they put a lot of pressure (on) me," he said.
Australian Aaron Baddeley shot a 6-under 66 to finish in fifth at 12-under 276, a stroke ahead of Jimmy Walker in sixth. Canadian Graham DeLaet, who briefly took a share of the lead on the back nine Sunday before faltering with a bogey and double bogey, was level in seventh place with Harris English and Charles Howell III at 10-under 278.
Phil Mickelson finished in a tie for 19th at 5-under 283 after shooting a 74, his worst round of the week. But he was nonetheless pleased with his game, days after proclaiming his swing to be "as far off as it’s ever been."
"Today despite the score was the best I hit it and the best the swing felt so I actually feel like I have some direction heading into next week’s HSBC Champions in Shanghai," he said.