Justin Thomas aims to win 3 out of 4 years in Malaysia

Paris FRA United States golfer Justin Thomas reacts to his putt on the ninth green during the Sunday singles mat

"No doubt very, very important", said Sharma, who came to worldwide prominence with his tied-ninth finish at the WGC-Mexico Championship where he led after the second and third rounds.

I guess the hard part will be having to leave home to compete on the PGA TOUR.

I'm looking forward to defending my title, especially when I've heard the course has been upgraded this year with new grasses on the fairways and greens. I know what to do, I know the golf course, the weather, how far the ball's going to go, the pin positions etc. I've been quite consistent with my play, but I didn't have enough good finishes on the board, after the win at the CIMB Classic.

"It is such a pleasure to be back in Malaysia again".

Q: The 2018 CIMB Classic (Oct 11-14) will be your first tournament as a father.

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If I had not received the invitation from Malaysia, who knows, I may not have played in Mayakoba. I've played so well on this course and have a good record over here. Winning the Order of Merit is something I want to achieve by December and playing well here goes a long way to achieve that.

It kicks off a swing of three big tournaments in Asia for the 21-year-old, along with next week's CJ Cup in South Korea and the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai. "You have some of the best players in the world playing", said Sharma, who failed to secure his PGA Tour card last season. He is coming off a runner-up finish at the Safeway Open. The result: Moore surged to a second-place finish, his best performance in two years. I made my plans in the off-season assuming that I would play, so it came as a bit of a surprise.

J.T. recovered, though, and finds himself T6 and in the middle of a solid pack of good players vying for the second title of the 2018-19 PGA Tour season. You have things that you would not really look at when you're playing well, but when you're playing bad, you tend to look at the finer things.

Other stars competing in the event include 2014 FedExCup Champion Billy Horschel, Europe's Ryder Cup star Paul Casey, double CIMB Classic victor Ryan Moore and Brandt Snedeker, who together with Moore finished runner-up at the Safeway Open after losing to Tway in a playoff on Sunday.

The PGA TOUR-sanctioned event features a limited field of 78 players comprising of the top 60 available players from the 2017-18 FedExCup points list, eight sponsor exemptions and the top-10 available players from the Asian Tour.

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