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CIMB Classic switches Malaysian venues, Mickelson headlines

Phil Mickelson of the U.S. reviews his shot from the greenside bunker on the 15th hole during the final round of the Wells Fargo Championshi
Phil Mickelson of the U.S. reviews his shot from the greenside bunker on the 15th hole during the final round of the Wells Fargo Championshi

(Reuters) - Four-times major winner Phil Mickelson will headline the U.S. PGA Tour's $7 million CIMB Classic at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country club in October, with organizers switching courses following another birdie fest last year.

The 78-man co-sanctioned event with the Asian Tour was held at the Mines Golf Course last year but the short layout offered little resistance with American Nick Watney shooting a final round 10-under par 61 to win.

His 262 total was one shy of Bo Van Pelt's tournament record low when he won in 2011 on the same course.

Both past champions, and 2010 winner Ben Crane, will join Mickelson in this year's field.

The Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country club has a history of hosting high caliber tournaments and has staged the European and Asian Tour's Malaysian Open for the past four years.

Organizers did not say if world number one Tiger Woods, who finished tied fourth last year, would return for the event which will count towards the PGA Tour's FedExCup for the first time.

"I think it's fantastic that the CIMB Classic is part of the FedExCup," Mickelson said in a statement on Thursday.

"It certainly drives the tournament's competitiveness and encourages the presence of American golfers in the region."

While prize money has increased from $6.1 million for the October 24-27 event, the presence of Asian Tour players remains limited with only the top 10 from their Order of Merit guaranteed entry.

(Reporting by Patrick Johnston in Singapore; Editing by Greg Stutchbury)

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