Ex-Cats

Pair of recent UK stars closing in on PGA Tour debuts in Kentucky tourney

Former St. Xavier and University of Kentucky star Cooper Musselman, who will be making his PGA Tour debut starting Thursday, teed off at Champions at Keene in Nicholasville during a practice round Tuesday.
Former St. Xavier and University of Kentucky star Cooper Musselman, who will be making his PGA Tour debut starting Thursday, teed off at Champions at Keene in Nicholasville during a practice round Tuesday. swalker@herald-leader.com

Two former University of Kentucky players who graduated this spring will make their PGA Tour debuts in the Barbasol Championship this week at Keene Trace Golf Club.

Cooper Musselman and Tyler “Chip” McDaniel seemed to be enjoying the lead-up to the tournament.

“You kind of get treated like royalty around here,” said Musselman, who also starred at St. Xavier and is the reigning Kentucky Open champion.

Added McDaniel, who played in high school at Clay County, “There’s a lot of free food, so that’s good. But, yeah, it’s really cool.”

The pair acknowledged that there’s a difference between a PGA Tour event and a collegiate tournament.

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Tyler “Chip” McDaniel, who starred in high school at Clay County and in college at Kentucky, teed off on the first hole of Champions at Keene Trace during a practice round Tuesday. He’ll be making his PGA Tour debut this week. Silas Walker swalker@herald-leader.com

“Like (Brian Craig, the UK) coach said, more getting used to all the off-the-golf-course stuff,” McDaniel said.

Musselman described the run-up to a college event in simple turns. “We just try to learn the course,” he said, “and really just go find a good place to eat.”

McDaniel, who won the Kentucky Amateur in 2013 and 2017, suggested Musselman can be a contender this weekend. He said Musselman is steady from tee to green.

“If he gets some putts rolling, you’ll see his name on the top of the leaderboard, for sure,” McDaniel said.

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