Pat Perez has won his third title on the PGA Tour after running away with the CIMB Classic in Kuala Lumpur.
The 41-year-old journeyman started his 17th season on Tour with a four-shot victory over a field stacked with young superstars. And while Keegan Bradley came closest to chasing down Perez, it was the weather that bothered the heavyset American most.
“I was just hoping to kind stay alive in the heat,” Perez said. “Even I lost weight this week.”
Perez entered the weekend with the lead and never relinquished it, reaching 24-under-par and claiming his second win in 11 months. But despite hitting 62 of 72 greens and carding four scores in the 60s (66-65-64-69), he still wasn’t happy with his ball-striking.
“I didn't even hit that many good shots,” Perez said. “I just made a whole lot of putts and that saved me because if I didn't putt well I probably would have finished 40th.”
After spending a significant portion of last year on the sidelines following shoulder surgery, Perez has produced the best golf of his long career – and he isn’t planning on changing his winning formula.
“I'm not going to change anything,” Perez said. “I'm still not going to work out. I'll still have a bad diet and I'm going to enjoy myself.”
But Perez was still surprised with how well he played for a victory he described as “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.
Meanwhile, Cameron Smith bolted out of the gates on Thursday, shooting an eight-under 64 to take the early lead.
The Queenslander's second and third rounds were less eventful (71 and 73), before closing with the round of the day – another impressive 64 – to claim a share of fifth.
The PGA Tour continues its Asian swing this week as it moves to South Korea for the inaugural CJ Cup at Nine Bridges.