Moore Makes the Most of Malaysia
By Torleif Sorenson on 11/3/14

For the second straight year, Ryan Moore has won the CIMB Classic in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. And for the second straight year, fellow American Gary Woodland was in the mix at the end. Last year, Woodland made it to a playoff with Moore, and this year, Woodland and Moore both shot Sunday 67s. But Woodland three shots down, he couldn't make up the ground necessary to catch Moore at the end. In fact, Woodland bogeyed the par-5 closing hole.

Co-leader after 54 holes, South Korea-born American Kevin Na resurfaced at the top of the leaderboard again. Na has not won on Tour since the 2011 Shriners in Las Vegas, but last season has several strong finishes. He finished T-3 at the Frys last October, a T-4 at Pebble Beach, a solo second at the Valspar near Tampa, lost the Memorial in a playoff to Hideki Matsuyama, then had a T-9 at the Barclays in New Jersey in August.

Na started Sunday hot through the first five holes, playing the first nine holes -4. But things came apart for Na at 13 with a bogey, a missed birdie attempt at 16, then a catastrophic double-bogey at 17.

Sergio García was also there to make things interesting; like Na, Sergio gained ground on the outward nine with birdies at 5, 7, and 9. But the Spanish Ryder Cup ace lost momentum with a disastrous double-bogey at 10. Sergio regained those two lost shots with birds at 11 and 14, but got no closer.

Woodland, Na, and García all finished T-2 at 274 (-14). South Korea's Sang-Moon Bae finished T-5 with 21-year-old Australian Cameron Smith from Queensland, who was the 2013 Australian amateur champion. Smith earned his biggest paycheck as a pro and, because of his T-5 finish, qualified to jet halfway around the world to play at this week's PGA Tour event, the Sanderson Farms Championship in Jackson, Mississippi.

As for the winner, Moore's iron play was excellent, with wonderfully accurate approach shots over a hazard at 7, a sneeze-in birdie at 14, to about six feet at 15. After a bogey at 16, Moore stuck his approach at 17 to about six inches to seal the deal.

Moore's iron play won him this tournament, aided by a few coolly-struck putts, including a par-saver at the last that nearly lipped out. With his fourth tour victory and second CIMB Classic win, Moore further solidifies his place on Tour and exemption from qualifying, and surged from 47th to 27th on the Official World Golf Ranking.

If Moore is good, more will be better.   :-P

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