2017 Barbasol Championship pre-tournament notes
Dates: July 17–23, 2017
Where: Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail at Grand National, Lake Course, Opelika/Auburn, Alabama
Par/Yards: 35-36–7,302, par-71
2016 champion: Aaron Baddeley
Purse: $3,500,000/$630,000 (winner)
FedExCup: 300 points to the winner
Format: 72-hole stroke play
A look at the 2016 Barbasol Championship
In the second Barbasol Championship, Aaron Baddeley found himself 11 shots off the lead after 36 holes last year, but just three strokes off the pace after round three. With a final-round, 5-under 66, Baddeley forced sudden death with 2017 PLAYERS Championship winner Si Woo Kim. On the fourth extra hole, No. 18, Baddeley sank a 28-foot putt for birdie to claim his fourth career PGA TOUR in his 354th TOUR start at the age of 35 years, 4 months. It marked his first win since the 2011 Genesis Open.
Also of note about last year’s Barbasol Championship was the second-round performance by 18- and 36-hole leader Jhonattan Vegas. After a pair of pars at Nos. 10 and 11 to start his second round, Vegas went birdie-eagle-birdie-birdie-
Note: Baddeley is not in this year’s Barbasol Championship field as he finished fourth at the Australian Open last November, part of The Open Qualifying Series, to earn a trip to Royal Birkdale.
The Barbasol Championship and the FedExCup Playoffs
With only five weeks remaining before the FedExCup Playoffs, the Barbasol Championship will again play an important role players qualifying for the first Playoffs event at THE NORTHERN TRUST. The first two champions, Scott Piercy (2015) and Aaron Baddeley (2016) finished 22nd and 69th, respectively, in the final FedExCup standings.
A glance at the field:
- Five former major championship winners: Jim Furyk (2003 U.S. Open), Angel Cabrera (2007 U.S. Open, 2009 Masters), Retief Goosen (2001, 2004 U.S. Open), Davis Love III (1997 PGA Championship) and Y.E. Yang (2009 PGA Championship).
- Players with ties to the State of Alabama include: Smylie Kaufman (Lives in Birmingham), Patton Kizzire (Auburn), Dominic Bozzelli (Auburn), Dru Love (Alabama), Robby Shelton (Alabama), Jason Bohn (Alabama), Dicky Pride (Alabama), Bobby Wyatt (Alabama), Blayne Barber (Auburn), Matt Gilchrest (Auburn), Trace Crowe (Auburn), Will Cannon (UAB) and Willy Wilcox (UAB).
- Jim Furyk, winner of 17 PGA TOUR events and the 2010 FedExCup champion, will make his first start in the Barbasol Championship. Furyk, who joined the PGA TOUR in 1994, will be making his 574th start this week. In addition to the 17 TOUR titles, he has amassed 30 runner-up finishes and 17 third-place showings. Furyk will be in search of his first TOUR win this week since the 2015 RBC Heritage. In addition to his TOUR success, Furyk has been a part of seven Presidents Cup teams, nine Ryder Cup Teams, and was selected as the 2018 Captain of the U.S. Ryder Cup Team. Like many in this week’s Barbasol Championship field, at No. 142 in the FedExCup, Furyk is trying to play his way into the FedExCup Playoffs. Since its 2007 inception, Furyk has competed in 35 of the 40 Playoff events and has qualified for eight of the 10 TOUR Championships.
- Davis Love III, a 21-time PGA TOUR winner and his son Davis “Dru” Love IV will be playing in the same field this week for just the third time ever. Dru will be making his fourth start on the PGA TOUR this week, and third as a professional. In his first TOUR start, he missed the cut as an amateur at the 2015 RSM Classic. In two professional starts this season, he missed the cut at the U.S. Open and Greenbrier Classic two weeks ago. At the U.S. Open, the younger Love had his dad serving as his caddie. Davis, who will be induced into the World Golf Hall of Fame in September, served as the U.S. Team Captain of the 2012 and 2016 Ryder Cup.
- Former Auburn golfer Blayne Barber makes a return to this year’s Barbasol Championship for a third consecutive season. In the inaugural event of 2015, Barber finished T10 (69-67-68-68—272/-12). Last year, he finished T47. Currently ranked No. 119th in the FedExCup standings, Barber nearly cracked into the winner’s circle for the first time of his career earlier this season, losing in a playoff at The RSM Classic to Mackenzie Hughes.
- Auburn alum Patton Kizzire will be making his second start in this week’s Barbasol Championship (MC/2015). So far this season, Kizzire as collected a pair of top-10 finishes, highlighted by solo-second honors at the season’s first event, the Safeway Open. In the two-man team event at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, he and fellow Auburn alum Jason Dufner took home T5 honors. Kizzire, a second-year TOUR member, is currently ranked 90th in the FedExCup standings.
- Six-time PGA TOUR winner Hunter Mahan is poised to make his second consecutive start in this year’s Barbasol Championship, having missed the cut in his debut last yea. In addition to his six TOUR titles, Mahan has competed on four Presidents Cup Teams, three Ryder Cup Teams and has advanced to the TOUR Championship eight of the 10 years and has played in the most Playoff events (35) in PGA TOUR history.
- Former University of Alabama All-American Robby Shelton returns to this year’s Barbasol Championship, two years removed from his T3 finish at Grand National in the inaugural 2015 event. With that finish, Shelton became just the third amateur since Justin Rose at the 1998 Open Championship (T4) to claim a top-five finish on the PGA TOUR. Shelton finished T47 in last year’s event. Shelton currently leads the Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada Order of Merit, with two wins and a runner-up to his credit in five starts.
- Mobile’s Bobby Wyatt is perhaps best known for his historic round of 57 at the 2010 Alabama Boys State Championship. At the University of Alabama, he was selected to the 2013 United States Walker Cup team, where he led all competitors with 3.5 points en route to the U.S. victory. Wyatt was named a first team All-American by Golfweek in 2013 and a second-team choice in 2012. Wyatt finished 72nd in last year’s Barbasol Championship.
- LSU’s Sam Burns will make his fourth PGA TOUR start after receiving the tournament spot for winning the Jack Nicklaus Player of the Year Award presented by Barbasol. Burns recently announced he would turn professional in September.
Barbasol has a long-standing connection with golf that dates back to the 1920s and 30s, when advertising campaigns featured product endorsements from celebrated PGA TOUR golfers Johnny Farrell and Craig Wood. Again in 2017, Barbasol is proud to sponsor the Barbasol Championship, with wide-reaching involvement across several levels of the sport. The brand sponsors talented professional golfers on the PGA TOUR, Web.com Tour and PGA TOUR Champions, and supports collegiate golf by presenting the Jack Nicklaus Player of the Year Award. Barbasol-sponsored professional golfers have included Ryan Armour, Chad Campbell, Ben Curtis, Chris DiMarco, Kyle Reifers, Brian Stuard, Robert Streb, Bronson Burgoon, Joel Dahmen, Martin Piller, Russ Cochran, Neal Lancaster and Loren Roberts.
Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail at Grand National
Grand National, by all reports, was the single-greatest site for a golf complex Robert Trent Jones, Sr. had ever seen. Built on 600-acre Lake Saugahatchee, 32 of the 54 holes lie nestled along its filigreed shores. Both the Links course and the Lake course were in the top 10 of Golf Digest’s list of “America’s Top 50 Affordable Courses” and all three courses at Grand National are listed among the nation’s 40 Super Value courses by Golf Digest’s “Places to Play.” The collection of Robert Trent Jones Golf facilities has grown to 26 courses at 11 different sites and offers 468 holes of golf.