By Justin Bergman ,AP
KUALA LUMPUR — Ryan Moore birdied the first playoff hole to beat Gary Woodland and capture the CIMB Classic title on Monday after an overnight wait caused by storms and darkness.
Moore had to fight just to get in the playoff, hitting an awkward 60-yard wedge shot on the 18th hole Sunday that dropped within several feet of the hole and allowed him to salvage par.
He and Woodland finished level at 14-under 274, with the playoff postponed until Monday due to fading light.
In the playoff, Moore hit a similarly well-placed approach shot with an eight-iron to the same green that stopped dead about 5 feet from the hole, setting up his winning birdie putt.
“I had a great opportunity there on 18 with my third shot and it was just an absolute perfect number,” he said. “It was coincidentally the exact shot I was working on on the range.”
It was Moore’s third PGA Tour title and came nearly a year after he won his second, at the 2012 Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas.
He said this has always been a good time of year for him: not only has he played his best golf, there was another milestone last year — the birth of his son Tucker.
“I’ve always enjoyed playing in the fall. I’m not sure why,” he said. “It’s actually kind of funny, I won a week before my son was born last year; I won a week after (his birthday) this year.”
Woodland, who was also trying to win his third PGA title, had a chance to end things as dusk was descending in a steady rain Sunday evening but he barely missed a 10-foot birdie putt on the 18th that would have given him the title.
The players had endured about 3 hours of storm delays earlier in the day, which caused the playoff to be put off until the morning.
“Obviously I’d like to make that putt,” he said. “I hit it where I wanted to, it just broke more. I can see it now, it was a little lighter out right now, I can see it broke a little more, but it is what it is.”
He pulled his approach shot to the 18th green wide on Monday, leaving himself a difficult chip shot from the rough that he couldn’t hole for birdie.
Still, it’s been a remarkable turnaround in form over the past few months for the American golfer, who has struggled with wrist injuries in recent years and a loss of form that had sent his world golf ranking plummeting to 268th this summer.
Woodland began making changes to his game last January when he started working with new swing coach Butch Harmon. He later switched to Harmon’s son, Claude, hired a new short-game coach, Pat Goss, and then added a new psychology coach, Julie Elion.
The results finally started to come in August: Woodland won his second PGA title at the Reno-Tahoe Open and followed that with a share of second at The Barclays a couple of weeks later.
Starting the new wraparound PGA Tour season this month, Woodland also added a new caddie, veteran Tony Navarro, who previously worked with Adam Scott.
“I put a lot of hard work in,” he said. “It’s been a process with the changes I’ve made, switching to Butch and his son, and it’s finally starting to come together, which is nice. I put a lot of work in on the short game, a lot of work on the middle game, and we’re starting to put it together now.”