The Ones to Watch
Jhonattan Vegas (+2200) – How do you not root for a guy whose name more closely resembles a Sin City pit boss than a world-class lion of the links? Okay, so the Keene Trace Golf Club, current home of the Barbasol Championship, is not a links course per se but you get the gist. Nevertheless, Mr. Vegas (couldn’t help myself) will not have to contend with a pair of notable rivals from last week’s John Deere Classic as the winner, Dylan Frittelli, qualified for the British Open with the victory and runner-up, Russell Henley, withdrew from the Barbasol on Monday.
However, Vegas was swinging like a champ heading into the weekend of the John Deere and perched at the top of the leaderboard until he withered in the final two days to wind up tied for 37th. Yet, we’ve seen that the Venezuelan can hold his own with the big boys when tested, as evidenced by his third-place finish at the Players Championship this year and as the winner of the RBC Canadian Open in 2017. The Barbasol Championship odds on Vegas give us plenty of value on one of the best players in a field devoid of the true elite, many of whom will be contending at the British Open this weekend.
Troy Merritt (+2200) – Last year’s Barbasol Championship winner will be back to defend his title but he is an all-or-nothing competitor. If Merritt has his groove on early then he could be a threat late but don’t be surprised if things go the other way and he misses the cut entirely.
Nick Taylor (+3000) – Canadian Nick Taylor, whose best finish this year was ninth at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans in April has a penchant for doing just enough to keep cashing in his tournaments. Once again, I reiterate that this is a field that could see his stock rise as he is always hanging around and took 21st in the Barbasol last year. Conversely, Taylor is more equipped to make a paycheck than he is to take home the hardware.
Wes Roach (+3300) – Don’t overlook former Duke standout Wes Roach in this thick field of second-tier players because Roach has placed 11th or better in four of his last six events. Last week he picked up a cool $133,000 for his 10th place finish at the John Deere Classic and could turn that momentum into a victory here.
Roberto Castro (+5500) – The Houston native has made the cut in four of his last five PGA Tour events and placed 21st in the John Deere Classic last week, shooting a 12 under par over the four-day tourney. He could be a sleeper here and with odds of 55-1, is worth a shot in your Barbasol Championship picks.