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12D AGO

Power Rankings: ISCO Championship

3 Min Read

Power Rankings

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    Written by Rob Bolton @RobBoltonGolf

    For the fourth time this season, PGA TOUR members who are not in the field of the week's 500-point FedExCup event are treated with an Additional Event to chase similar rewards, and it’s a construct that will repeat next week.

    The ISCO Championship is the Additional Event contested concurrently with this week’s Genesis Scottish Open. It will be followed by the Barracuda Championship opposite The Open Championship. Each field reserves space for 156 golfers with about one-third of it at both Additional Events consisting of DP World Tour members.

    The Champions Trace Course at Keene Trace Golf Club in Nicholasville, Kentucky, hosts the ISCO for the sixth time. Details on how it sets up, special stipulations regarding performance and more are below the ranking of those projected to contend.




    OTHERS TO CONSIDER

    • Neal Shipley … While his contemporaries were hogging the attention in the Quad Cities, he was merely an observer after missing the cut, but don’t forget about him. He’s already performed well enough to know that he belongs, and with everything to gain, he can open the throttle and go flag-hunting. Keene Trace is the ideal stage for his talent to shine.
    • John Marshall Butler … Just when you were wondering who’s next, the recent national champion at Auburn enters the chat. After upending Neal Shipley in the semifinals of the NCAA Division 1 Championship, 2 and 1, he clinched the title by defeating Luke Clanton by the same score in the anchor match of the finale. Butler, who is a native of Louisville, Kentucky, also captured victories in two of his last three starts before the SEC Championship. Scaled to as high as 30th in the World Amateur Golf Ranking.
    • J.J. Spaun … At 150th in the FedExCup and with his winner’s exemption expiring this year, he’s answering the bell after months of silence. Couldn’t find any traction until a T10 at the Rocket Mortgage Classic. That laid the foundation for a T23 at the John Deere Classic. Second appearance at Keene Trace (T47, 2021).
    • Andrea Pavan … The 35-year-old from Italy is twice a winner on the DP World Tour but he needed a return to the Challenge Tour in 2023 to regain his status. He flourished with a win, a second and another two top 10s among 13 top 20s on the developmental circuit. That work has yielded a return to consistency with his irons as he’s currently 20th in greens hit back it the big leagues. More importantly, he’s 53rd in the Race to Dubai thanks primarily to a pair of recent top-five finishes among four top 25s on the season.

    While the Genesis Scottish Open and The Open are great gets and potentially career-defining opportunities, there are only four weeks of tournaments before the field of 70 is determined for the FedExCup Playoffs, so the timing of being able to stay in the U.S. to pursue that long-range goal is invaluable on multiple levels.

    Fittingly for the region arguably known best for its thoroughbreds, at least as it concerns outdoor sports, Keene Trace presents as a racetrack on which the competitors can keep rallies rolling or find their games. Scoring on the stock par 72 that tips at 7,328 yards has landed within a half-stroke on either side of 70 in all previous editions. Last year’s 70.43 is the highest but the final round (68.88) was one of the lowest of all courses all season.

    Bentgrass greens averaging 6,000 square feet are prepped to 11 1/2 feet on the Stimpmeter. That’s a bone thrown to the 50 DP World Tour members in the field who are accustomed to such speeds as they globetrot. And that doesn’t factor in how soft the course might be at the jump.

    What’s left of Hurricane Beryl will skirt northwest of the greater Lexington area overnight on Tuesday and into Wednesday morning, thus potentially impacting practice and the pro-am, but it’ll be long gone by the time the tournament launches proper on Thursday morning. When it does, criminally calm air will mean green lights all day long amid sunshine and a high temperature in the mid-80s. The only difference for Friday’s second round will be heating to maybe 90 degrees which locks in for the weekend. Breezes freshen ever so slightly after the cut falls.

    If the champion is a PGA TOUR member, he banks 300 FedExCup points and exemptions into the 2025 editions of The Sentry, THE PLAYERS Championship and the PGA Championship. (A berth into the Masters is not a benefit for winning an Additional Event.) His membership exemption also will be extended in the winners category through 2026.

    If the champion is not a PGA TOUR member, his membership exemption, which is optional to accept, would extend only through 2025. Also, the 300 FedExCup points would not contribute to a membership total in 2024.

    The provision for top-10 exemptions also is modified. It does not apply to non-members for whom it would otherwise pay forward for entry into the Barracuda. However, for DP World Tour members only, a top-five finish would yield entry into Barracuda via the spots reserved for that circuit. This is how Adrien Saddier gained entry into the Barracuda last year after finishing T3 at the ISCO.


    ROB BOLTON’S SCHEDULE

    MONDAY: Power Rankings (Scottish)
    TUESDAY*: Power Rankings (ISCO); Sleepers (Scottish)
    WEDNESDAY: Golfbet Insider
    SUNDAY: Points and Payouts (Scottish); Points and Payouts (ISCO); Medical Extensions; Qualifiers; Reshuffle

    * - Rob is a member of the panel for PGATOUR.COM’s Expert Picks for PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf, which also publishes on Tuesday.

    Rob Bolton is a Golfbet columnist for the PGA TOUR. The Chicagoland native has been playing fantasy golf since 1994, so he was just waiting for the Internet to catch up with him. Follow Rob Bolton on Twitter.

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