PGA Tour: Barbasol Championship Preview

Golfer lines up iron shot

We preview the fourth edition of the PGA sanctioned Barbasol Championship which takes place at Keene Run between 19 and 22 July. 

This will be the fourth edition of this event that was devised in 2015 as an alternative to the Open Championship. This event was originally played at the Grand National course in Alabama but has moved to Kentucky this year.

This will only be first PGA Tour event to be hosted in Kentucky since Valhalla hosted the 2014 PGA Championship. The winner here this week won’t earn an exemption to the Masters next week and will receive appreciatively less FedEx Cup points. But it does afford more marginal players the chance to get precious points ahead of securing their card.

Barbasol Championship | 19 - 22 July | Keene Run, Keene Trace Golf Club, Kentucky

The Keene Trace Golf Club was opened in 2007 in the northern part of the state near Nicholasville. There are two courses at this club and they will be utilizing the Keene Run Layout this week. This is the first time that the course will be used for a major event and thus everything is quite mysterious. It is a parkland style layout that will likely be conducive to low scoring. The greens will be bentgrass and the fairways are said to be wide and generous. There are a few par 3’s that measure over 200 yards, leading me to believe that strong iron play could prove paramount this week- as it is any week.

Clearly, there will be little fanfare in Kentucky due to the 147th edition of the Open Championship. Perhaps the most striking aspect of this week’s event will be the added publicity of having a female competitor on the PGA Tour for the first time in ten years. two-time Major winner Brittany Linicome will be looking to exploit a weakened field and perhaps eclipse the fairly dismal attempts by Michelle Wie to break the PGA Tour. Elsewhere, the likes of former FedEx Cup Champion Billy Horschel and Chris Kirk head the markets. Davis Love III adds some pizazz to the back catalogue in an event that few will likely tune into this weekend.

Past Winners
2017: Grayson Murray (-21)
2016: Aaron Baddeley (-18)*playoff
2015: Scott Piercy (-19)

To Win Outright:
Billy Horschel 16/1 | Chris Kirk 16/1 | Wesley Bryan 20/1 | Joel Dahmen 20/1 | David Lingmerth 22/1

Value Bets

Joel Dahmen- To Win 20/1, To Place 44/10
There was something so reassuringly retro about seeing Joel Dahmen playing in that big floppy hat at the John Deere last week. Golfing styles have become so generic of late. Dahmen has the distinction of being the only golfer in the field with back-to-back top 10 finishes this month on the PGA Tour. He finished in a tie for fifth at the Greenbrier before improving to a share of the runner-up spot at last week’s John Deere Classic. Nobody was ever going to catch the charging Michael Kim in what became a procession on Sunday.

Chad Campbell- To Win 40/1, To Place 17/2
Campbell is clearly a player with pedigree and is a one-time runner-up at the Masters. It has been some time since he's won on tour. He last won in 2007 and has been one of those players that has battled to retain relevance. But as an alternate Major event, this could be one of those weeks that proves fruitful for the 44-year-old. He also played really well last week, falling behind a bit on the back 9 on Sunday before settling for a tie for seventh at the John Deere Classic. 

The Man to Beat- Billy Horschel- To Win 16/1, To Place 7/2
Considering the lack of real quality out there this week, I find it hard to look past a man with the pedigree that Horschel possesses. Horschel has had his travails with his game over the years but he still remains a former FedEx Cup Champion. He won the 2014 BMW Championship and Tour Championship en route to that title. Horschel looked to turn it around a bit this year with a victory at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans alongside former champion here Scott Piercy. Horschel seemed to be gaining traction at the Travellers and was far more improved at the National. As a Florida native, he will be used to the potentially muggy conditions and should be a strong contender this week. The ignominy of being the market leader always means less in these smaller events.

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Written by Damien Kayat for

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