Golf

Rain extends Kentucky’s PGA Tour event into Monday; ex-Cats finish strong

A fan tried to wait out a rain delay that started at 12:40 p.m. Sunday at the PGA Tour's Barbasol Championship in Nicholasville.
A fan tried to wait out a rain delay that started at 12:40 p.m. Sunday at the PGA Tour's Barbasol Championship in Nicholasville. swalker@herald-leader.com

After the second round was suspended on Friday with most golfers having not completed 18 holes, some good fortune allowed the second and third rounds of the Barbasol Championship to be completed on Saturday. There was plenty more rain in Central Kentucky that day, but it all seemed to skirt around the Champions Course at Keene Trace Golf Club.

But the bad-weather bug returned on Sunday as a strong storm left standing water throughout the course, halting play before the early pairings could complete their final rounds. Some four hours later play restarted, but after about 10 minutes it was suspended again when lightning was spotted in the area.

The tournament eventually resumed, but most of the golfers were unable to finish their rounds.

The Barbasol Championship will now be completed on Monday beginning at 7:30 a.m., with players picking up where they left off when yet another storm halted play for good Sunday night.

Two fan favorites who did manage to complete the tournament on Sunday were Chip McDaniel and Cooper Musselman. The former University of Kentucky teammates, who led the Cats to a 21st-place finish at the NCAA Championships in May and then received sponsor exemptions into the Barbasol field, finished strong in their PGA Tour debuts.

Not only did they manage to make the cut ahead of several players with PGA pedigrees — including Duffy Waldorf, Aaron Baddeley, Stuart Appleby and Daniel Chopra — who were sent packing after the second round, both ex-Cats finished the Barbasol Championship well under par.

McDaniel, who also starred in high school at Clay County, birdied his final two holes on Sunday. He stuck his tee shot on the par-3, 18th hole within 3 feet of the cup.

“It felt really good (to birdie 18),” McDaniel said. “The last three rounds, they were all under par so that’s always good. It’s just icing on the cake really ... a few hundred more dollars. It was a lot of fun this week.”

Musselman’s finale carried added drama. While lining up his birdie attempt on No. 18, the air horn sounded to signal the weather delay that officially ended Sunday’s action. But the horn blew three times, meaning players could finish out their current holes. Musselman, a former St. Xavier standout, two-putted for par and then ran for the clubhouse along with fans and media as a deluge of rain opened up.

“Really glad we got it done,” said Musselman. “I’m glad I don’t have to come back tomorrow morning.”

Despite the logistical nightmare caused by the weekend’s unpredictable weather, Musselman said he was “blessed to have this opportunity.

“I love being in my home state. I got a lot of support from friends and family and that was really special. That’s the thing I’m going to remember most about it, was probably the first tee shot hearing my name announced then hearing all my friends and family giving me some support.”

Former St. Xavier and University of Kentucky star Cooper Musselman battled weather conditions and interruptions in play at the PGA Tour’s Barbasol Championship at Champions at Keene Trace. Musselman finished at 7-under par for the tournament.

Musselman was tied for 59th at 7-under par when play ended for the day. McDaniel was 6 under for the tournament, which was tied for 62nd.

Also completing his final round Sunday was Apollo graduate Matt Atkins, who won the Web.com’s El Bosque Mexico Championship in 2017. The Owensboro native was tied for 42nd at 11-under par after a final-round 69.

Former Henry Clay and Morehead State star Josh Teater was tied for 13th at 15-under par through five holes when play stopped. Davis Love III, perhaps the biggest name left in the field, was 14-under par and had completed just one hole.

The top eight players heading into the final round never got started on Sunday, including the four tied for first place at 18-under par — Robert Streb, Hunter Mahan, Tom Lovelady and Troy Merritt.

Lovelady and Merrit will tee off at 7:50 a.m. Monday with Streb and Mahan following 10 minutes later.

Former Clay County and University of Kentucky star golfer Chip McDaniel finished at 6-under par in the Barbasol Championship, his first PGA Tour event. McDaniel shot a 71 in his final round Sunday.

Waiting in the rain

The PGA pros weren’t the only ones whose plans were thrown into disarray because of the weather. As staff members hit the course to remove water, spectators walked the cart paths surveying the damage and looking for ways to pass the time.

The Chapman family was one such group. Justin and Sybrina Chapman, along with son Trenton, drove to Champions from their home in Elizabethtown on Sunday morning.

“As soon as we stepped off the shuttle we heard the horn sound,” said Justin with a laugh.

The Chapmans brushed shoulders with several pros in the clubhouse before heading out for a walk down the front nine. They paused at a tent across from the green on hole No. 8 where Trenton, who’ll turn 3 years old next Sunday, tested out his tiny, stylish rubber boots in a puddle next to the cart path.

“He loves those things,” Sybrina said. “The problem is he wants to wear them with everything. It’s hard to get him to take them off.”

Then Trenton got a thrill out of slapping the water off of several chairs.

“He’s having as much fun right now as he would watching golf,” Justin said.

When the Chapmans first arrived at the course, Trenton saw a graphic on the scoreboard at hole No. 18 that showed Justin Spieth’s picture and charted the 24-year-old phenom’s progress at the British Open.

“He got excited and I had to explain to him that Spieth wasn’t here,” Justin said. “But heck, when we left the house he thought we were coming here so I could play.”

The Chapmans were all in good spirits despite the gloomy turn of events. Sybrina bought tickets to the Barbasol in June as a Father’s Day gift to Justin from herself and Trenton and the three of them were determined to enjoy their afternoon.

“This is a beautiful looking course, I can’t believe its in this good of shape after all the rain,” Justin said. “Rain is just a part of golf. These things are unpredictable. Hopefully, we’ll just get a chance to see some guys play later on.”

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