One & Done: Barbasol Championship
July 17, 2019
By Rob Bolton, PGATOUR.COM
Inside the PGA TOUR
Barbasol Championship Preview
If you've followed the PGA TOUR for a few years, every year at this time, there's a handful of golfers for whom it appears strange to see them outside the top 125 in the FedExCup standings. Then, as if on cue, a few go to work and climb comfortably inside the bubble. One or two even have our attention as potential One & Dones.
If he didn't withdraw from the Barbasol Championship early in the week, Russell Henley likely would have been the most owned at Keene Trace Golf Club. After going the entire season without a top-10 finish, he was the outright runner-up at the John Deere Classic. With it, he rose from 165th to 83rd in the FedExCup. Not a surprise.
Since the Barbasol is an additional event with 300 FedExCup points going to its champion, you're encouraged to entertain a pick in the sample size that no longer includes Henley because someone of note is going to be the latest to secure his job.
This is where I turn to Bill Haas. Like Henley at this time a week ago, Haas isn't yet fully exempt for 2019-20. At 142nd in the FedExCup, he's a seventh-place finish away at the Barbasol from the current line of demarcation for the top 125. While not every story that presents an opportunity for the heart to be fulfilled is realized, this is as good a time as any to piggyback his sound form (T10, John Deere Classic).
After starting the season on a Minor Medical Extension – Haas eschewed burning a career earnings exemption; at just 37 years of age, it made sense – he's played out of the conditional status category throughout. Thanks in part to the predictable extension of numerous sponsor exemptions, he's totaled 20 starts.
Troy Merritt is the defending champion, and it wouldn't be surprising if he contends again, but consider stretching your muscles and having more fun than usual in the absence of chalk.
Jhonattan Vegas (68th in the FedExCup), J.T. Poston (76th) and Brian Gay (106th) are in play, but none are under pressure to perform per se. Still, regardless of your position, investment in any is sensible.
Because Jason Dufner won the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide in 2017, his card is safe for 2019-20, but he's 127th in the FedExCup standings, so I love that he's fighting for a spot in the Playoffs. With a couple of top 10s as visible objects in his rear-view mirror, I dig the play.
Two-man gamers should feel good about a Haas-Dufner ticket, but any combination of the aforementioned should be considered.
Rank Expert Pick Comment 41st
Bill Haas We know who he is and what he's capable of, so I'm not going to overthink it. I'm also not deterred by one bland round while in contention last week. That had to feel good and I'm investing in the belief that he won't wait long for another taste. 47th
He’s 75th in the FedExCup this season and finished fifth in last year’s Barbasol. 57th
After finally picking off a top 10 with Collin Morikawa last week I'm not sure how to keep the streak going. When in doubt, i'm going with a guy who makes ALL OF THE PUTTS in an event where 20-something is going to win again this week.
On the Mark
Jhonattan Vegas He played solidly at John Deere and was speaking confidently about the swing key he found. I feel like that matures a little further this week and he plays well. 232nd
Bill Haas Had Russell Henley and Jhonattan Vegas in mind with Haas before I looked anything up. Henley is a WD, and I’ve already used Vegas it seems. So that leaves Haas - a move nicely backed up by Bolton’s impeccable Power Rankings. 639th
Bill Haas With another top-10 finish last week, the 2011 FedExCup champion is building momentum to qualify for the Playoffs again.
NOTE: Select golfers committed to the tournament are listed alphabetically. Future tournaments are sorted chronologically and reflect previous success on the courses on which the tournaments will be held in 2018-19. The numerical values in parentheses represent the order of relative confidence of where to use each golfer if multiple sites are listed (e.g. 1 for strongest, 2 for next-strongest and so on). To present weighted confidence in real time, numerical values will not change all season no matter how many tournaments remain listed for each golfer. All are pending golfer commitment.
Jason Dufner … Wyndham (8); TOUR Championship (10)
Bill Haas … Wyndham (6)
Martin Laird … Barracuda (2)