Golf

First PGA Barbasol in Kentucky is over. Here’s what could change for next year’s.

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

Despite being dealt a bad hand by Mother Nature, organizers of the Barbasol Championship at Keene Trace Golf Club managed to successfully stage Central Kentucky’s first PGA Tour event in nearly 60 years.

It took an extra day, but Troy Merritt took the trophy on Monday after holding off the field for a one-shot victory.

Merritt, along with several other top finishers, had nothing but good things to say about the course and the way staff dealt with the challenges presented by the 5-plus inches of rain dumped on the course over the weekend.

So aside from discovering a way to control the weather, what changes are under consideration for next year’s edition of the tournament?

“We’ll debrief here next week while it’s still fresh on our minds and come up with some things we’ll adjust and change,” Barbasol Championship Executive Director Brooks Downing said. “When you start from scratch and have to build it all out like we did you throw 100 things against the wall and about 50 of them stick. ... So we’ll look to keep the things that worked and go from there.

“But for the first one, I think we were right on the money on a lot of what we tried to do. Unfortunately, the weather didn’t cooperate so I don’t think the fans fully got to experience it from start to finish. ... We took a couple of punches and bounced back, and we’ve heard a lot of very positive comments.”

Troy Merritt wins the PGA Tour Barbasol Championship at Keene Trace Golf Club in Nicholasville.

Downing said there will likely be some changes to the course before next year’s tournament.

“You’ll probably see a new tee box or two, not necessarily to lengthen but to challenge,” he said. “And, obviously, this tested the drainage on the course, so the club has already identified a few areas to improve in case we ever have another 5 1/2 inches of rain.”

Asked whether anything will be done to toughen up the course in light of the low scoring, Downing said one player suggested thickening the rough.

“I would think that might be something that’s an easy adjustment, but I don’t think there’s any ‘Tiger-proofing’ that’s coming. We’ll see where it shakes out,” Downing said. “Our bottom line is, we’re in the entertainment business. We just want there to be a lot of action whether it’s low scores or high scores. We had a lot of players in contention today and that was great for the fans.”

Troy Merritt, a 32-year-old from Meridian, Idaho, won the PGA Tour's Barbasol Championship at Champions at Keene Trace in Nicholasville. Merritt talked about what it meant to get his second tour victory.

Former Henry Clay and Morehead State star Josh Teater shot a 73 on Monday to finish the Barbasol Championship at 12-under par. He will next play in a Web.com Tour event in Springfield, Mo.

  Comments