Mahan, Two With State Ties Added To Barbasol Championship Field

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Hunter Mahan has committed to play in the Barbasol Championship next week. Mahan was a member of the U.S. team that captured the Ryder Cup title at Valhalla Golf Course in Louisville in 2008. (PGA TOUR Photo)

LEXINGTON, Ky. (KT) — The list of participants for next week’s PGA TOUR Barbasol Championship keeps growing and includes several players with ties to the Bluegrass State.

Derek Fathhauer, a University of Louisville graduate and Owensboro’s Matt Atkins will compete in the event featuring 132 of the top golfers in the world. Fathhauer and Atkins will join Morehead State graduate Josh Teater and recent University of Kentucky graduates Cooper Musselman and Chip McDaniel. The event is set for July 19-22 at Champions at Keene Trace in Nicholasville.

“Golf is certainly a global game, and we will have outstanding American and International players in our field,” Barbasol Championship Executive Director Brooks Downing said. “But we love and support our Kentuckians, and it’s always special to have pros with close ties to the Bluegrass State in our event. Fans and media will enjoy following these players and cheering them on to play well.”

Among the most recent professional additions to the list of participants include Charles Howell III, Hunter Mahan, Ben Crane, Jonathan Byrd and Beau Hossler.

“The commitment by players of this caliber is a great reflection of the confidence PGA TOUR pros have in our inaugural tournament, the golf course, our organization, and frankly, the positive image of Kentucky,” Downing said. “We sense their excitement in coming here to play, and we’re certainly excited to host and show them all our Bluegrass hospitality.”

Mahan, who played his collegiate golf at Oklahoma State, is no stranger to the Bluegrass. Mahan was a member of the 2008 United States Ryder Cup that defeated Europe at Valhalla Golf Course in Louisville. Mahan has recorded six victories as a professional golfer, including a pair of World Golf titles.

Howell III, formerly a standout golfer at Oklahoma State, has won two PGA TOUR events, including the 2002 Michelob Championship and the 2007 Nissan Open. Crane has five victories on the tour and won the 2014 FedEx St. Jude Classic in Memphis.

Known for his “Walk off Hole-in-One” Byrd’s ace on the fourth playoff hole gave him the 2010 Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospital for Children Classic title in Las Vegas. Byrd won the 2017 Web.com Tour title before making a return to the PGA TOUR.

Hossler, a rookie on the circuit, has recorded a pair of runner-up finishes this year. He finished behind Ian Poulter in the Houston Open earlier this year and was runner-up in the Travers Championship. 

Tickets: Daily and week-long grounds passes can be purchased at Ticketmaster.com. A Thursday grounds pass is $30 with Friday priced at $35 and the Saturday/Sunday rate at $40 per day. All four-day pass can be purchased for $100, with upgraded ticket options available as well.

MELTON FIRES 63

Alexa Melton fired a 9-under-par 63 in the opening round of the girls’ Junior PGA Championship at Kearney Hill Golf Links in Lexington. Melton carded the lowest 18-hole score in the 43-year history of the prestigious event. 

Melton, a Pepperdine commit, recorded five birdies on her first nine holes and was 8-under through 12 holes. She also had a birdie on No. 1 and recorded an eagle on the third hole, setting the tone for the lowest score of her career.

“There are many ups and downs in golf so you can’t get too high about it or too excited for it, but I’m feeling pretty good about [my round],” said Melton, whose previous lowest score was a 64. “I was sticking the ball close, within six feet frequently, and I captured those putts.”

Erica Shepherd of Greenwood Indiana, who will play at Duke is two shots behind Melton going into the second round. 

“For the first time ever, I took the driver out of play and hit 3-wood all day off the tee,” said Shepherd, who won last year’s junior title. “Heading into this tournament, I’ve put a lot of pressure on myself with the Junior Ryder Cup on the line and what this event means. I was able to perform today. I’ve always liked having the pressure on me.”

Keith Taylor is sports editor for Kentucky Today. Reach him at keith.taylor@kentuckytoday.com or twitter @keithtaylor21.

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