Barbasol Championship Preview

Josh Culp
A field of 132 golfers will remain Stateside to play in this week's Barbasol Championship. (Getty Images)
A field of 132 golfers will remain Stateside to play in this week's Barbasol Championship. (Getty Images)

While the superstars are across the pond taking on Royal Portrush, a field of 132 golfers will be fighting for their TOUR status at this week's Barbasol Championship. 

That's not exactly the case with everyone in the field, but a large majority of the field find themselves outside the top 125 in the FedExCup standings as they ready for the final few events of the regular season. 

Let's jump right in to the course and see what it takes to contend on this Kentucky layout. 

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The Course

The Champions Course at Keene Trace is the host venue this week at the Barbasol. It made its debut last year. 

The course is a par 72 that plays just over 7,300 yards. The routing of the holes has been reversed this year so what played as Hole No. 1 last year is now the 10th and vice versa. That should provide some additional drama down the stretch as holes No. 7 and 9 played as the two hardest holes last year and those will now be No. 16 and 18. 

We only have one year of data to look at but if last year is any indication of the scoring environment, then we should be in for a birdie fest this week. Keene Trace played as the 4th easiest course on TOUR last year and 2nd easiest if you remove the courses that only hosted one round. 

It's the par 5s in particular that yield all the low numbers. The field averaged 17.99 (-2.01 RTP) on the par 5s last year the course overall played at -2.095 RTP. Basically, you need to birdie two of the par 5s each round and play the rest of the holes at even par, just to hang around near the middle of the pack. 

Golfers that have been playing well during the Midwest Swing should feel comfortable again this week since birdies and eagles will again be flying off the shelves in bunches. 


Correlated Courses

Looking at grass types, geography, course attributes, and past performance, here are a few courses/events that I think could prove to be a good pointer this week: 

Sea Island Resort (RSM Classic)
TPC River Highlands (Travelers)
Sedgefield CC (Wyndham)
TPC Deere Run (John Deere)
TPC San Antonio (Valero)
PGA WEST rota (Desert Classic)

We have one year of data only but that does give us some numbers to compare. If we match that small sample size up with relevant angles (bentgrass greens, weak field, and easy scoring) then the list above is what we come away with. 


The Weather

Thursday: Cloudy with a chance of PM storms. High of 87 degrees with a RealFeel approaching 100 degrees. Winds calm at 6 to 8 MPH. 

Friday: Sunny with a high of 92 degrees (feels like 102). Winds calm at 6 ot 9 MPH. 

Weekend: Temps remain hot and humid over the weekend with the chance for a few pop-up storms. 

Hot and humid conditions mean the greens will need a good soaking. That means target practice for these elite golfers. Low scoring should be expected again this year. 

Golfers to Watch

J.T. Poston
Finished top 5 here last year and he finished 11th in Detroit recently. Struggled last week in the Quad Cities but this is a good spot to rebound. 

Adam Schenk
Missed the cut here last year but he gained 1.6 strokes off-the-tee that week. The tee shots seem to fit his eye, he just needs to clean up the rest of his game. Should have the confidence to do that after posting a top 10 last week at TPC Deere Run. 

Troy Merritt
Boom or bust lately with three top 20s over his last eight starts but three missed cuts in that stretch also. 

Nick Taylor
Might surprise you with his steady form as he's missed just two cuts of his last 17 starts. Won the Sanderson Farms in 2014 and his second best TOUR finish came at the Puerto Rico Open (2016). These weak field events is where he does a lot of his damage. 

Patrick Rodgers
Back in action after nursing a wrist injury. Probably too soon to trust him in fantasy lineups. 

Stephan Jaeger
If you're like me then you may struggle to differentiate Kentucky and Tennessee on a map. For Jaeger, he spent his college days in Tennessee so this part of the country should be comfortable for him. The ultimate bounceback spot since he was a pre-tourney WD last week after a huge implosion on day one of the John Deere. 

Ranking the Field 

1. Adam Schenk
2. Troy Merritt
3. Sepp Straka
4. Nick Taylor
5. Brian Stuard
6. J.T. Poston
7. Danny Lee
8. Denny McCarthy
9. Austin Cook
10. Peter Malnati
11. Jhonattan Vegas
12. Shawn Stefani
13. Martin Laird
14. Beau Hossler
15. Matt Jones
16. Johnson Wagner
17. Bill Haas
18. Peter Uihlein
19. Brice Garnett
20. Ryan Blaum
21. Trey Mullinax
22. Jason Dufner
23. Sebastian Munoz
24. Stephan Jaeger
25. Adam Svensson


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