Golf

Lexington’s Josh Teater again in position to make some noise in Kentucky’s PGA event

Photo slideshow: PGA Barbasol Championship second round

Players compete in the second round of the PGA Barbasol Championship Friday at Keene Trace Golf Club in Nicholasville.
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Players compete in the second round of the PGA Barbasol Championship Friday at Keene Trace Golf Club in Nicholasville.

Just like last year, local favorite Josh Teater has put himself in position to make a run at a big finish in the PGA Barbasol Championship at Keene Trace Golf Club. Unlike last year, it wasn’t a dramatic move up the leaderboard in the second round that did the trick, but rather a steady grind — and one dramatic shot coming down the stretch.

In the 2018 edition of the Barbasol, Teater shot 23 spots up the leaderboard to finish the second round in a tie for fifth place. The Henry Clay and Morehead State graduate who still calls Lexington home went on to finish tied for 40th. This time around, Teater will enter the weekend tied for 18th, just five strokes off the lead, after following up an opening-round 65 with a 70 to move to 9-under par on Friday.

Teater gave himself looks at several makeable birdie putts through 14 holes but only managed to sink two, which were offset by a pair of bogeys. On the par-5, No. 15 hole, Teater made the break he needed.

After a 310-yard tee shot into the rough and a follow-up that got him just over 50 yards from the pin, Teater’s iron shot from the fairway rolled in for an eagle, to the delight of the throng of fans that followed him around the course all day.

“Making that eagle on 15 was nice,” Teater said.

Teater courted trouble on No. 18 when his drive landed near the bottom of a steep incline just above a sand trap in the rough, giving him a difficult lie. But he recovered with a beautiful approach shot that landed on the green then nearly sank a 12-foot putt for birdie.

“I had (the putt) on line and I just didn’t hit it hard enough. That was the theme of the day. Either on line and too hard or on line and a little short ,” Teater said. “But that shot (before the putt), you factor in all of the elements and you just kind of make a swing and hope for the best. We came out pretty good there.”

Teater said the fans gave him a huge boost Friday. The crowd that followed him was every bit a match for the one that followed two-time major winner John Daly, both in terms of size and enthusiasm.

“It’s great knowing that friends and family are out (there). It means a lot”

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Ryan Stucky of Lexington holds a poster of John Daly as Daly putts on No. 18 on Friday. Daly shot 71, 72 to finish at 1-under par for the tournament and miss the cut. Alex Slitz aslitz@herald-leader.com

Daly had his Barbasol curtain call Friday, missing the 4-under cut line by three strokes. Defending champion Troy Merritt missed the cut at 2-under.

University of Cincinnati graduate Jim Herman is alone in first place at 14-under heading into the weekend after firing back-to-back rounds of 65. He’s one stroke ahead of six-time PGA Tour winner Bill Haas. Four golfers are tied for third at 12-under, including 13-time PGA winner David Toms, who at 52 years and six months old would become the second-oldest golfer to win a PGA Tour event should he capture the Barbasol title. Case Cochran, son of University of Kentucky alumnus and current Champions Tour regular Russ Cochran, is tied for 18th.

UK sophomore seizes opportunity

University of Kentucky sophomore-to-be Cullan Brown has a pretty rare distinction among Barbasol Championship players. The Eddyville native and Lyon County graduate is one of only two amateurs who made the field. After cut-down Friday, He’s the only amateur left.

Brown earned a sponsor’s exemption on the heels of a highly successful spring campaign with the Wildcats. He missed the entire fall portion of his freshman season due to injury but returned after Christmas break to post four top-20 finishes, including a tie for ninth place at the SEC Championship, and earn a spot on the SEC All-Freshman Team.

At Wednesday’s Pro-Am, Brown said he wouldn’t let the fact that he’s the youngest player in the field faze him.

“It’s not even something I’ve really thought about, it’s just a great opportunity to be here and have a fantastic experience,” he said. “A great chance to get to see where I’m at compared to where I’d like to be against some of the best names in the game.”

Brown acquitted himself admirably playing among the pros. He’ll get to stick around for the weekend after making the cut by turning in seven birdies on his way to a 68, moving him to 4-under.

“It was a good day all the way around,” Brown said after the second round. “To be able to even have the opportunity ( to make the cut), to know that my game is in a place where it can compete on a stage like this is fantastic.”

Other Kentucky notables

UK alumnus Stephen Stallings Jr. shot a 4-under 68 to move to 6-under for the tournament along with fellow ex-Cat Chip McDaniel. Their former teammates Lukas Euler and Cooper Musselman both missed the cut.

Steve Flesch missed the cut at 1-under, as did University of Louisville graduate Derek Fathauer at 2-under.

PGA Barbasol Championship

Where: The Champions Course at Keene Trace Golf Club in Nicholasville

When: Through Sunday

Purse: $3.5 million

Defending champion: Troy Merritt

Website: BarbasolChampionship.com (for information about tickets, volunteer opportunities, event schedule, July 17 pro-am and more)

Saturday’s TV: 4-6 p.m. (Golf Channel)

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Josh Sullivan has worked at the Herald-Leader for more than 10 years in multiple capacities, including as a news assistant, page designer, copy editor and sports reporter. He is a graduate of the University of Kentucky and a Lexington native.
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