Favorites, locals and odd names to know as PGA Tour returns to Kentucky

Davis Love III teed off on the first hole during Wednesday's Pro-Am event at the PGA Tour Barbasol Championship at Keene Trace Golf Club outside Nicholasville. Love III is one of the most recognizable names in this week's tournament, which gets underway Thursday..
Davis Love III teed off on the first hole during Wednesday's Pro-Am event at the PGA Tour Barbasol Championship at Keene Trace Golf Club outside Nicholasville. Love III is one of the most recognizable names in this week's tournament, which gets underway Thursday..

Golf’s biggest names won’t be around — the sport’s penultimate major, the British Open, is happening across the pond — but there will be plenty of talented individuals competing as the PGA Tour comes to Nicholasville this weekend.

The Barbasol Championship tees off Thursday at the Champions course at Keene Trace. Check out the guide below to get a sense of who should (realistically) compete for the title, along with locals and other notable names competing in the event.

Top contenders

Joel Dahmen and Sam Ryder were among three golfers who tied for second in last weekend’s John Deere Classic in Illinois; both boast profiles that suggest they could follow up with strong performances in the Barbasol.

Dahmen, who attended the University of Washington for one year before joining PGA Tour Canada in 2010, first played on the PGA Tour last season after barely making the Tour top 25 final money list. He’s 83rd on the PGA money list this season ($1,241,168) and has back-to-back top-five finishes coming in (he finished fifth at The Greenbrier in West Virginia on July 8). Dahmen has placed in the top 20 in six of his last 12 tournaments.

Ryder — a Florida native who didn’t play golf until he was 16 — is in his rookie season but also has two top-five finishes (he was fifth at the Houston Open). He’s made the cut in four of his last six events.

Billy Horschel — 45th in the FedEx Cup standings and 47th on the PGA money list ($1,877,438) — is one of only two Barbasol golfers placed in the top 100 of the most recent World Golf Rankings; he’s 98th, seven spots behind James Hahn, who’s 65th in the FedEx Cup standings and 71st on the money list ($1,330,100).

Horschel won the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, a team event, with Scott Piercy in April. The University of Florida graduate was the 2014 FedEx Cup champion, owns five career Tour victories and was the Barbasol betting favorite at +1200 on Bovada on Tuesday.

Hahn has two career PGA wins and one top-10 finish this season — he lost in a six-hole playoff after missing an 8-foot put in the Sony Open in Hawaii. Bovada had him at +5000.

Rob Bolton, a fantasy insider for, put Knoxville native and Georgia graduate Chris Kirk at the top of his event power ranking. Kirk, Bovada’s second-betting favorite at +1600, has four career wins (none since 2015) and four top-25 finishes in his last six events (including three top 15s).

A few other names to keep an eye on: Scott Brown (four top-25 finishes, including fifth- and sixth-place finishes), Wesley Bryan (in 2016 he became the most recent and 11th overall Tour graduate to earn PGA status via a three-win promotion), Brian Gay (the third-betting favorite along with Dahmen and Gay at +2000, he’s finished in the top 20 in four of his last seven tournaments); Mackenzie Hughes (has back-to-back top-20 finishes and made six of his last nine cuts), Hunter Mahan (a member of three Ryder Cup teams and owner of six career wins) and Whee Kim (80th in the FedEx Cup ranking and two top-five finishes, including a runner-up finish in the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open).

Home tees

Several home-grown golfers will play this week in Nicholasville, but none are expected to finish among the leaders.

Josh Teater, a Danville native and Morehead State alumnus, has played in only one PGA Tour event this season — The RSM Classic, in which he finished 37th. He has seven top-20 finishes on the Tour in 2018, including a runner-up placement in the Nashville Golf Open in May. Teater, who was +7000 on Bovada, missed the cut last week at the Utah Championship.

Recent University of Kentucky graduates Chip McDaniel and Cooper Musselman both will make their PGA Tour debuts as sponsor exemptions. The duo led UK to its 10th appearance in the NCAA championships in May. McDaniel, a Clay County graduate, won the Kentucky State Amateur in 2017, while Musselman, a former St. Xavier star, last year became the first amateur since 2010 to win the Kentucky Open.

Grover Justice, a 44-year-old who also competed at UK, became the first player officially in the field after earning an exemption by virtue of being named the Kentucky PGA Section’s Player of the Year. The Pikeville native works at High Performance Golf Academy, located at Keene Run.

Derek Fathauer is a Florida native but was a star at the University of Louisville, where he was the first Cardinal to receive All-America honors.

Apollo High School graduate Matt Atkins, a Tour rookie, rounds out those with Kentucky ties.

When Brittany Lincicome tees off in the Barbasol Championship at Nicholasville’s Keene Trace Golf Club on Thursday, she will become the fifth woman ever to play in a PGA Tour event. Rick Scuteri Associated Press

I know that name ...

Brittany Lincicome: She’s the first woman to compete in a PGA Tour event since 2008 and only the fifth to do so, period. Lincicome, an eight-time winner on the LPGA Tour (including two majors), could become the first woman to make a PGA Tour cut.

Davis Love III: A 21-time winner on the PGA Tour, Love was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame last year. His son, Dru Love, also will play this week.

Stuart Appleby: He has the most Tour wins in the field after Love with nine. The Australian’s last victory was in 2010 at the Greenbrier Classic.

John Peterson: The former LSU star won the 2011 individual NCAA title but was in the news recently after declaring that he would retire after failing to earn enough FedEx Cup points to keep conditional status on the PGA Tour. He made it into this field as an alternate.

Arjun Atwal: He was the first Indian-born golfer to qualify for the PGA Tour and to win on tour when he took the Wyndham Championship in 2010.

... and love these names!

Unique surnames always make perusing golf results more fun. Here are some of the best at the Barbasol Championship.

Cody Gribble: He was one of Jordan Spieth’s teammates on the 2012 Texas team that won the NCAA title.

Frank Lickliter II: The 48-year-old is the father of twins with cool given names — Steele and Storm.

D.A. Points: He turned pro in 1999 but didn’t earn his first Tour win until 2011. Points is up to three total, his last coming at the Puerto Rico Open last March.

Tom Lovelady: This 24-year-old rookie is a former teammate of St. X graduate Justin Thomas at Alabama.

Dicky Pride: Another Alabama alumnus, Pride claimed his only PGA victory after hitting a first-hole birdie in a three-way playoff at the Federal Express St. Jude Classic in 1994.

Sanderson Farms
Cody Gribble hoisted the Sanderson Farms Championship golf tournament trophy in 2016. Rogelio V. Solis AP file


What: First round of PGA Tour Barbasol Championship

Where: Champions course at Keene Trace Golf Club in NIcholasville

Gates open: 7:30 a.m.

First tee time: 8:20 a.m.

Tickets: Daily passes $30-40; Four-day pass $100 (Visit for additional details)

Parking: $10 per day (All parking is at Keeneland, with shuttles running continuously to the golf course)

Thursday’s TV: 5-8 p.m. (Golf Channel)

Purse: $3.5 million ($630,000 to winner)

2017 champion: Grayson Murray

Matt Jones of Kentucky Sports Radio made a long putt on the No. 12 hole, a par-4, during the Barbasol Championship Pro-Am event on Wednesday, July 18, 2018, in Nicholasville, Kentucky.

UK football head coach Mark Stoops and assistant coach Eddie Gran were asked, "If the UK football team was a golfer, what would its handicap be?"

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