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Barbasol Championship: Dahmen can fry Kentucky field

The fourth edition of the Barbasol Championship makes its debut in Kentucky this week after three years at the Robert Trent Jones-designed Grand National course in Alabama.

The big talking point is the inclusion of Brittany Lincicome who accepted a sponsor's exemption to join the 132-player field.

Annika Sorenstam and Michelle Wie both competed against men between 2003-4 but with no woman having made the cut on a PGA Tour event, its small wonder the 32-year-old from St Petersburg, Florida, is a 500/1 long shot this week.

With a driving average of 269.5 yards, 'Bam Bam' should not have too much trouble taming the 7,139-yard par-72 course at the Keene Trace Golf Club which, true to the spirit of Kentucky has "a big golf course featuring big greens, big tees, big fairways and big bunkers".

Chris Kirk and Billy Horschel are joint 12/1 favourites for the tournament which guarantees a place at the US PGA Championship to the winner, a factor which should ensure a competitive four days despite the eyes pf the golfing world being on The Open at Carnoustie.

On the face of it both players have excellent claims, with Kirk's second-round 72 the only blemish on a decent card at the John Deere Classic last week which followed excellent performances at the Fort Worth Invitational and the FedEx St Jude Classic.

Horschel may be slightly off the pace which brought him the FedEx Cup and the Tour Championship four years ago but he paired up with Scott Piercy to win the two-man team event at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans in April and looked in decent nick at the National where he was one off the lead at halfway, but a third-round 75 scuppered his hopes as he closed with a 67 to finish 17th.

While both players are expected to be in the mix on Sunday, the first of our Barbasol Championship betting tips is Joel Dahmen at 20/1.

Dahmen, playing in only his second season on the PGA Tour, accused his fellow pro Sung Kang of cheating at the National a few weeks ago but the controversy had no effect on his playing ability, posting a fifth place finish at the Greenbrier Classic and a runners-up spot at the John Deere Classic in the last two weeks which catapulted him up to 71st in the FedEx Cup rankings.

Accurate off the tee and inside the top 50 for greens in regulation this year, Dahmen just needs to improve his putting and he may well be challenging this week.

Mac Hughes is finally starting to hit his stride after a miserable first half of the year and could go well at 33/1.

The 27-year-old Canadian won the RSM Classic in just his fifth start as a PGA Tour member in November 2016 but started this season with 13 missed cuts from his first 15 events. However, Hughes hit 14 of 18 greens in regulation in his final round at the John Deere Classic to close with a 65 for a second successive top-20 finish and we expect him to go well again in the same week as his native open.

Fabian Gomez is starting to put together a decent run of results two years after winning the Sony Open and he can go close competing in a weak field.

The Argentinian has some of the most consistent form of all the players heading into the tournament, making the cut in his last six tournaments and posting sub-70 rounds in 11 of his last 16.

Gomez can go close to winning his second PGA Tour event at 40/1 in the last tip in our Barbasol Championship betting preview.

Barbasol Championship Betting Tips

The Open: 8 Places @ 1/5 Odds Place an each-way Outright Winner bet on The Open Championship 2018 and get paid for a top-8 finish.

Warren Barner
@warren_barner in Golf