Ryan Moore knows how to finish a tournament, and how to start a season.
For the second straight year, Moore won the CIMB Classic on Sunday, and for the third year running he won on the PGA Tour’s fall schedule to get a flying start to the season, having also won the Shriners’ Hospitals for Children Open in October 2012.
Moore shot a 5-under 67 for a three-stroke win, beating fellow American Gary Woodland for the second straight year. He finished on 17-under 271 at Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club to become the first player to defend a title on the PGA Tour since Tiger Woods at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in 2013.
Sergio Garcia (69) and Kevin Na (70) shared a three-way tie for second with Woodland (67).
Moore had eight birdies against three bogeys in the final round, and earned his fourth PGA Tour title with some nerveless putting on the back nine.
“It was incredible to finish the way I did coming down those last few holes,” Moore said.
“I like to tell myself all the time that ‘I am a closer. Let’s just do what we can, hit good shots and let’s close this thing’ and I was able to do that.”
Woodland, who lost to Moore in a playoff at this tournament 12 months earlier, threatened to reverse that result by firing six birdies without a bogey over the first 15 holes to move within a shot of Moore.
He had a birdie putt at 16 for a share of the lead that lipped out, and at 18 he had the chance for another birdie that would have upped the pressure on Moore, but missed it, and the close-range par putt.
“The par fives cost me all week,” Woodland said. “I played beautifully outside the par fives.”
South Korea’s Bae Sang-moon (69) was tied for fifth with 21-year-old Australian Cameron Smith (68), who vaulted up from 13th to fourth on the Order of Merit in the Asian Tour, which co-sanctioned this event.
Last season’s FedEx Cup winner, Billy Horschel, finished at 4-under in joint 37th.