The First Look: Barbasol Championship
July 12, 2019
By Jeff Shain, PGATOUR.COM
- July 12, 2019
Troy Merritt clinches 2nd TOUR win at Barbasol
Troy Merritt defends his title against a lineup that includes former major champions Jason Dufner and John Daly as the PGA TOUR returns to Kentucky to usher in the FedExCup regular season’s stretch run.
Bill Haas, the 2011 FedExCup winner, also joins the Barbasol lineup for the first time as he seeks a late surge to get into this year’s playoffs. Kentucky native Kenny Perry also crosses over from the PGA TOUR Champions to make an appearance in his home-state event.
FIELD NOTES: Zach Sucher, a surprise runner-up at the Travelers Championship as he returns on medical extension, tees it up in his quest to keep full PGA TOUR membership. … With most of the world’s top players at Royal Portrush this week, Matt Every is the highest player in the FedExCup standings at No. 64. … A pair of PGA champions, David Toms (2001) and Y.E. Yang (1999), and 2003 Masters champion Mike Weir brings the total of former major champions to five. Yang, who is teeing it up for just the third time on U.S. soil in 2019, spends most of his time on the Japan Tour these days. … Toms, who has three runner-up finishes on PGA TOUR Champions this year, and Kentucky native Steve Flesh, give the roster four Champions members in all. … Derek Fathauer, twice a U.S. Amateur quarterfinalist while attending Louisville, is among at least a half-dozen golfers with Kentucky ties. That also includes former University of Kentucky standouts Chip McDaniel, Cooper Musselman and Stephen Stallings Jr., plus Lexington native Josh Teater.
FEDEXCUP: Winner receives 300 points.
STORYLINES: With three weeks left in the regular season, it’s crunch time to pick up crucial FedExCup points. More than 90 entrants – including Dufner, Haas, Cameron Tringale and Harris English – currently sit below 100th on the points list. … Merritt seeks to build on his share of seventh at the 3M Open, just his second top-10 of the season. He also tied for 10th at the RBC Heritage. … Perry, 58, makes his seventh TOUR start of 2019 as he plays out a one-time exemption for reaching the top 50 on the all-time money list. He’s teed it up three times previously in his home state – three PGA Championships at Valhalla and the 2008 Ryder Cup. … Just one of the four previous Barbasol editions has gone to a playoff. Aaron Baddeley went four extra holes to outlast Si Woo Kim in 2016.
COURSE: Keene Trace GC (Champions), 7,328 yards, par 72. In its second year as a PGA TOUR venue, the 1987 Arthur Hills design is a top-five mainstay among the state’s course rankings. The U.S. Senior Amateur was conducted at Keene Trace in 1994, in addition to a handful of Southeastern Conference championships. The course is one of just two on TOUR that end on a par 3, this one requiring a carry of some 200 yards over water to a large but shallow green. Both nines finish with a pair of water-risk holes around the edge of a lake.
For those visiting the Lexington area, must-play courses include Griffin Gate Marriott Resort & Spa (Lexington, Ky.) and Cherry Blossom GC (Georgetown, Ky.). Book your reservations via TeeOff.com.
72-HOLE RECORD: 263, Grayson Murray (2017 at RTJ Golf Trail/Grand National). Keene Trace record: 265, Troy Merritt (2018).
18-HOLE RECORD: 60, Jhonattan Vegas (2nd round, 2016 at Grand National), Chad Collins (2nd round, 2017 at Grand National), Scott Stallings (3rd round, 2017 at Grand National). Keene Trace record: 62, Troy Merritt (1st round, 2018).
LAST YEAR: Merritt went nearly wire-to-wire for his second PGA TOUR victory, opening with a 10-under-par 62 and enduring a Monday finish for a one-stroke win over a trio of pursuers. The Idaho native was part of a four-way tie for the lead entering the final round, emerging from the pack with five birdies and an eagle. Consecutive birdies at Nos. 14 and 15 pushed him to the lead for good, carding a 67 to reach the finish line at 23-under 265. Combined with his previous week at the John Deere Classic, Merritt was 34 under over a seven-round stretch. Merritt’s previous TOUR win had come at the 2015 Quicken Loans National. Billy Horschel (67), Richy Werenski (66) and Tom Lovelady (68) shared runner-up honors.
HOW TO FOLLOW
TELEVISION: Thursday-Friday, 5-8 p.m. (Golf Channel). Saturday, 4-6 p.m. (GC). Sunday, 4-7 p.m. (GC).
PGA TOUR LIVE: None.