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  • Writer's pictureNate (@WeKnowFantasy)

Out of the Rough: ISCO Championship (2024)

As the World’s best begin The Open Championship preparations in Scotland, the rest of both the PGA Tour and DP World Tour get their chance to shine state-side.

The newly named ISCO Championship will take place alongside the Genesis Scottish Open this week at the Champions Course at the Keene Trace Club in Nicholasville, Kentucky.

Although newly named, the ISCO Championship takes over for the Barbasol Championship. Barbasol served as the title sponsor for this event since its inception in 2015.

Like the Genesis Scottish Open, this week serves as a final chance for any hopeful to secure a spot in next week’s The Open.

Again, like the Genesis Scottish Open, the ISCO Championship is co-sanctioned by the PGA TOUR and DP World Tour, as the field will consist of golfers from both tours.

This event was once played on the same week as The Open but was moved forward a week a two years ago to play opposite the Genesis Scottish Open.

This will be the sixth consecutive year (the event was canceled in 2020) that this event will be played at Champions Course at the Keene Trace Club in Kentucky.

The Field

With the event being co-sanctioned by the PGA TOUR and DP World Tour, it offers a rare chance for a number of European golfers to secure a PGA TOUR card if they are to win.

There are 50 spots in this week’s field reserved for DP World Tour golfers but there will not be that many making the trip over the pond to play this event.

Among the DP World Tour golfers teeing it up this week include Johannes Veerman, Filippo Celli, Sam Bairstow, Paul Waring, Gavin Green, Andrea Pavan, Jayden Schaper, Jannik De Bruyn and Andy Sullivan.

The PGA Tour’s side of things is headlined by amateur Luke Clanton who became the first amateur since 1958 to post back-to-back top-tens. Clanton finished tied runner-up last week at the John Deere Classic and finished T10th at the Rocket Mortgage Classic.

Other notable PGA Tour names playing this week include Michael Thorbjornsen, Daniel Berger, Alejandro Tosti, Neal Shipley and Michael Kim.

Vincent Norrman took down Nathan Kimsey in a playoff a season ago to claim the victory. He will not be back this year to defend his title as he’s set to play in the Genesis Scottish Open.

Norrman’s victory marked the seventh consecutive close finish determined by one shot or in a playoff at this event.

The Course

The Champions Course at Keene Trace Golf Club was designed by Arthur Hills 36 years ago and plays as a par-72 at 7,328 yards.

The bentgrass fairways here are very generous off the tee and the rough is non-penal which would suggest that long-bombers would have the leg up but it is the opposite of that. Finding the fairways is more important than bombing it a mile off the tee if we take a look into past results here.

The greens are bentgrass as well and are on the larger size. They do feature some undulations and are expected to run at around 12 on the Stimpmeter.

Golfers will not need to be spectacular at putting here this week but as is the case with most of these birdie-fest type of events, any hopeful winner must have a good putting week.

Finding the greens-in-regulation is the ultimate key here as the course is set up for low scoring. Simply put, any hopeful winner cannot leave birdie opportunities on the course.

When greens are to be missed, scrambling will be key, as previously mentioned, dropping even one stroke this week can play crucial.

Winning scores of the five previous winners of this event at The Champions Course at Keene Trace Golf Club have been Norrman at -22, -25 by Trey Mullinax last year, -21 by Seamus Power in 2021, -26 by Jim Herman in 2019 and -23 by Troy Merritt in 2018.

This course and event correlates well to last week’s John Deere Classic, which too was a low-scoring birdie-fest on bentgrass greens. J.T. Poston won the John Deere Classic in 2022 and placed second in this event in 2021 to confirm the correlation.

The Weather

Opposite of what we’ll see in Scotland this week, conditions are set to be dry state-side. There is at most a 20-percent chance of precipitation across all four days this week. Winds will also be minimal, ranging from five-to-seven miles-per-hour across all four days as well. Temperatures will also be opposite of what we’ll see across-the-pond as they’ll begin at 86-degrees on Thursday before peaking at 93-degrees come Sunday. In all, conditions look ideal for some very low scores this week.

Key Stats

  • Birdie or Better Percentage

  • Strokes Gained: Tee to Green (SG: TTG)

  • Strokes Gained: Approach (SG: APP)

  • Bogey Avoidance

  • Strokes Gained: Off the Tee (SG: OTT) / Driving Accuracy

  • Greens in Regulation Percentage (GIR%)

  • Strokes Gained: Around the Green (SG: ATG)

  • Scrambling

  • Strokes Gained: Putting on Bentgrass (SG: PUTT Bentgrass)

Betting Card

Carson Young (+4500)

I was on Young last week at the John Deere Classic at 150/1 as he went on to finish T5th. As he rounds into form, including a T14th at the RBC Canadian Open, T32nd at the Myrtle Beach Classic and T30th at THE CJ CUP Byron Nelson, I can’t stay away. I already talked about the correlation between this event and the John Deere Classic so I have to go back to the Young well. Young is currently 25th on Tour in driving accuracy, 33rd in birdie or better percentage, 40th in GIR%, 54th in SG: PUTT Bentgrass, 65th in SG: TTG, 67th in SG: APP, 84th in bogey avoidance and 109th in scrambling. His around-the-green game isn’t the best as he ranks 143rd in SG: ATG but he did play to just about even in terms of SG: ATG last week. I’m playing a unit on him him week.

Chan Kim (+5000)

Kim ended his skid of three consecutive missed cuts with a T12th at last week’s John Deere Classic. Earlier this season he placed T6th at the Corales Puntacana Championship, T14th at the Valero Texas Open, T8th at the Mexico Open at Vidanta and T14th at The American Express. Kim is currently 18th on Tour in SG: TTG, 25th in GIR%, 29th in both SG: APP and bogey avoidance, 31st in scrambling, 34th in SG: PUTT Bentgrass, 38th in SG: ATG, 54th in SG: OTT and 75th in driving accuracy. In other words, he’s above average in each of the ten statistical categories I took into consideration this week. He was my first click this week and I’m playing a unit on him.

Ben Silverman (+6000)

Right after clicking Kim, my second click was Silverman. He’s currently fifth on Tour in bogey avoidance, seventh in scrambling, 19th in SG: PUTT Bentgrass, 23rd in GIR%, 65th in SG: ATG, 69th in SG: TTG, 74th in both SG: APP and driving accuracy, 94th in SG: OTT and 105th in birdie or better percentage. He’s elite at avoiding bogies and scrambling for par as well as putting on Bentgrass. He’s also well above average in terms of GIR% as well. The perfect storm. Silverman has made the cut in five consecutive events coming into this week, including a T18th last week at the John Deere Classic. He also placed T17th at the Rocket Mortgage Classic, T35th at the RBC Canadian Open, T32nd at the Charles Schwab Challenge and T16th at the Myrtle Beach Classic. He also placed T16th at the Cognizant Classic and T13th at the Mexico Open at Vidanta earlier this year. I’m also playing a unit on him.

Andy Sullivan (+10000)

Sullivan is a guy I’ve been heavy on on the DP World Tour. He’s a veteran of the game and comes to the United States in hopes of a victory to get him a spot in next week’s The Open Championship. Although he comes into this week on the back of back-to-back missed cuts, he placed T4th recently at the Volvo Car Scandinavian Mixed. He also placed fourth at the Porsche Singapore Classic, T4th at the SDC Championship and T7th at the Alfred Dunhill Championship on the season. On the DP World Tour, Sullivan is currently ninth on Tour in both driving accuracy and GIR%, 31st in scrambling, 40th in SG: ATG, 42nd in SG: PUTT, 48th in bogey avoidance, 54th in both SG: TTG and birdie or better percentage, 69th in SG: OTT and 74th in SG: APP. I’m also playing a unit on him.

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