Justin Thomas likes playing in Malaysia. For the second year in a row he won the CIMB Classic played on the TPC Kuala Lumpur giving him his second Tour win. His final round 64 overtook Anirban Lahiri who had led after Saturday by four strokes. The long hitting Thomas’ performance was masterful making 13 birdies in his final 23 holes beginning with the last five holes of round three.
He is also the first PGA Tour winner to successfully defend his title since Matt Every took home the trophies at the 2014 and 2015 Arnold Palmer Invitational at the Bay Hill Club in Orlando.
No one wins on the PGA Tour without a good week putting which Thomas undeniably had being 4th in putts per green in regulation but the key to his win was his extraordinary length especially off the tee using a Titleist 917D3 model driver (9.5 degrees loft, Mitsubishi Rayon Diamana D+ Plus 73X shaft).
The 917 models have some new features compared with the 915s of two years ago which they replaced and overall produce lower ball spin rates as well.
The new drivers are designed to offer performance choices in spin and trajectory. The 917D2 with a 460cc full pear profile, has more forgiveness and produces a higher peak trajectory with 250rpm more spin compared with the 917D3. The 917D3 such as Thomas and several other Tour players use has a smaller traditional-looking 440cc pear shape.
Both are priced at $499 and have Titleist’s SureFit Hosel with 16 loft and lie settings to customize ball flight to the user’s needs plus a sole slot to allow additional face flex at impact.
But the new feature that has drawn a lot of attention is both driver models have interchangeable weights in the sole named the SureFit CG system comprised of a weighted cartridge inserted into a channel set at an angle towards the rear of the sole. One cartridge, with 5 choices between 8 and 16 grams, puts the center of gravity in a neutral location in the clubhead or another cartridge could be used that is heavier on one end. When the heavier end is inserted first the center of gravity is moved towards a forward toe position helping produce a left to right ball flight and when flipped so the heavier end is more towards a back, heel position a right to left trajectory.
The 917 has proven its worth even prior to being in stores with early adopter Jimmy Walker using a 917D2 when he won the PGA Championship at Baltusrol for his first major title.
CIMB Classic winner Thomas carries nothing but Titleist clubs and besides his driver here is the rest of his bag:
Fairway wood: Titleist 917F3 3-wood 15 degrees, Mitsubishi Rayon Diamana S+ Plus 80TX shaft (Thomas often carries a Titleist 915FD 5-wood though not last week)
Irons: Titleist 712U 2-iron; Titleist 716 MB 4-iron through 9-iron; Titleist Vokey Design Spin Milled SM6 pitching wedge 47.5 degrees, all True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 shafts
Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design Spin Milled SM5s 52.5 and 56 degrees; Titleist Vokey Design Spin Milled SM6 60 degrees, all with True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400 shafts
Putter; Scotty Cameron for Titleist Futura X5 prototype (angled wing back with hollow sole plate allowing for a thicker face for improved feel and sound)
Ball: Titleist Pro V1xWHAT'S YOUR REACTION?