Van Pelt Moves on to Malaysia


After winning the Perth International last Sunday, Bo Van Pelt traveled to Malaysia to compete in this week's CIMB Classic. The $6.1 million event, co-sanctioned by the PGA and Asian tours, begins Thursday at the Mines Resort & Golf Club in Kuala Lumpur.

Van Pelt, a 37-year-old from Indiana, is the defending champion in the tournament. Last year, when the event was solely sponsored by the Asian Tour, he shot rounds of 66, 64, 67 and 64 to finish at 23-under 261, six strokes ahead of fellow American Jeff Overton.

Interestingly, this will be the first time Van Pelt will be able to defend a title he won the previous year. He didn't return to defend his title in the 2003 Omaha Classic on the Nationwide Tour (now the Web.com Tour) as he had graduated to the PGA Tour, and his lone victory on the PGA Tour - the 2009 U.S. Bank Championship in Milwaukee, wasn't held the following year.

On Tuesday from Malaysia, Van Pelt sat down with reporters and talked about his fine recent play and chances to repeat in the CIMB Classic. Here's what he had to say.

MODERATOR: We'd like to welcome Bo Van Pelt to the interview room. You must be excited to come back and defend your title, but also coming off a great win down under. Give us your thoughts heading back into this week at the CIMB Classic.

BO VAN PELT: Obviously, great to be back, some great memories from last year. This is my first chance I've ever had to defend. I've only won a few tournaments. But when I won on the Nationwide the year I was on the tour, and when I won in Milwaukee, that tournament went away. This is a first for me. So I'm excited. Obviously, pleased with last week going to Perth. It had been nine years since I had been back to Australia. I really like the golf course, and had a good battle with Jason coming down the stretch. I was able to come out on top, so I obviously feel pretty good about my game. It was nice to be on the time zone all last week, body still feels good, so looking forward to getting started Thursday.

Q. Once you won the championship, you're really grateful at the end of the final day. Can you tell us what sort of feeling you have for the golf course this week coming back?

BO VAN PELT: Last year it was good for me. I think I had to go in on Sunday to have the lead and then to play well. There were a couple of times in my career where I've had leads and not played as well on Sunday. So to play the way I did last year I think gave me some confidence going into this year. I like the golf course. It's really straightforward, and obviously I feel like I still have a pretty good game plan. Hopefully, I'll just get used to the speed of the greens. That was kind of key for me last year here. I putted the ball well, and hopefully I can do it again this year.

Q. This is going to be on the official money list next year on the PGA Tour. What are your thoughts on that?

BO VAN PELT: I think it's good. Golf is expanding around the world and becoming an Olympic sport in 2016. I think the PGA Tour is doing a good job of trying to get ahead of the curve and to include tournaments that are all over the world. That is how the game will expand. The more people we can get involved in the game, the better it is for all of us. I think that being part of the official money will help guys and give them an incentive to come over here and travel and see what a great place K.L. is and what type of tournament venue it is. To me, it's nothing but positives.

Q. Coming into the season, when you look back, what sort of report card would you give yourself?

BO VAN PELT: As far as 2012 for me, it was probably one of my most consistent years. I think I had ten Top 10s. So from that standpoint I was pleased with how I played. The down side is I did not win a tournament on the U.S. PGA Tour, so that was a negative. You want to try to get a victory when you're that close. I had a good chance to make the Ryder Cup team and did not make it, so that was a negative. But all in all, I felt like one of the areas going into 2012 that I wanted to improve on was my putting. If you looked at my stats before this year, that was a weakness, I would say, compared to the rest of my game. This year in putting I went from 140 something to top 10, so that was a huge improvement and something that I worked hard for. So, overall, a lot to be thankful for and a lot of positives to build on for 2013.

Q. Is there an added pressure of being the titleholder this week?

BO VAN PELT: I don't think so. I think there are so many great players in every tournament we get to play, to have a chance to win, you know you're going to have to play great. Last year doesn't count for anything this year. We all started even par on Thursday morning. The golf course isn't going to remember how I played last year. I've got to produce this year. I'm just looking forward to the opportunity. Obviously, I have great memories from last year, and I'm looking forward to getting back out there and playing the golf course again.

Q. Do you think having played in Perth is an advantage to you over those that arrived today? That you've had some form of acclimatization before the tournament starts on Thursday? And what do you expect the winning score to be? It was 23 under last year. What about this year?

BO VAN PELT: Well, the question about being acclimated to the time zone, on paper, I would say yes. But it's funny. Last year I didn't arrive until Tuesday morning, and I won. In Perth, I didn't arrive until Tuesday afternoon and I won. So maybe I should just show up late. But obviously I feel good. To me, I feel better than I felt last year when I got off the plane.

So hopefully we'll be in the mix on the weekend, and my legs will still feel good and I'll have energy going into the weekend. Hopefully that will be the case. Then as far as the winning score, I think every year the field has gotten better at this event. I think it's going to push guys to shoot lower and lower, so I would definitely say if the weather holds, you're looking at something in the 20s to win the golf tournament for sure.

The transcript for the above interview is courtesy of ASAP Sports.


CBS Sports Official Partner