While the eyes of the golf world will be on Royal St George’s and the Open this week, there is also PGA Tour action for punters to get stuck into with the Barbasol Championship at Keene Trace Golf Club.
First staged in 2015, this low-key ‘alternate event’ tends to attract a weak field who get the chance to play for a valuable two-year PGA Tour exemption and a spot in next year’s US PGA Championship.
Keene Trace, a 7,328-yard par-72 Kentucky course, took over hosting duties in 2018, when Troy Merritt won at 23-under, while Jim Herman made it to -26 through four rounds when the event last took place two years ago. A low-scoring total will be required to get the job done again.
Can Seamus Power to Victory?
In-form Irishman Seamus Power, with three top-ten finishes from his last five PGA Tour events, disputes favouritism at
16/1 with 2011 Masters champ Charl Schwartzel, who has been struggling for a while but was third at the Byron Nelson in May and 19th at the US Open on his last start.
However, this event looks wide open and, while it’s clearly possible to make a case for Power, the Waterford man is a PGA Tour maiden who has not won anywhere in the world since a victory on the Korn Ferry Tour – one step down from the PGA Tour – in 2016.
Defending Champ Appeals
Instead, it’s defending champion Herman who makes the most appeal at
35/1 on his return to a course where he knows he can contend.
Herman fired a Saturday 62 to take control of the 2019 event and then saw off Kelly Kraft to claim his second PGA Tour title. There have been signs of his game coming back to the boil in recent weeks – he has recorded three consecutive top-30 finishes in better company at the Memorial Tournament, the Travelers Championship and the John Deere Classic.
A steady character, Herman has been putting well, particularly last time out at the John Deere, and that will be the key to success at the Barbasol birdie-fest.
Chance For a Tour Breakthrough
Adam Schenk closed with a 65 to finish 18th at the 2019 Barbasol and the 29-year-old, who is chasing his first PGA Tour win, warmed up with a fourth-placed finish last week. He ranks 57th for round-by-round birdie average on the PGA Tour – a high rank in this field, and is worth an interest at
Will Gordon has shown himself capable of contending for PGA Tour titles in the past and, while he has been inconsistent, 14th at the recent Palmetto Championship was a step in the right direction and he fired four rounds in the 60s at the John Deere. He makes tons of birdies and appeals at
Brice Garnett has missed his last two cuts but he was fifth at the Travelers Championship recently and often comes to the boil in these weaker events, finishing fifth at the Puerto Rico Open and ninth at the Corales Puntacana Championship. He could get involved at
All odds correct at time of writing