On July 31st, 156 of the state’s top amateur and professional golfers will begin their pursuit of the 99th Kentucky Open Championship. Conducted by the Kentucky PGA, the tournament will be played at Big Spring Country Club’s Harmony Landing Campus in Goshen, Kentucky and is open to all Kentucky amateur and professional golfers.
Last Year’s Championship: In 2017, University of Kentucky star Cooper Musselman shot rounds of 69-70-67—206 (-7) at Hurstbourne Country Club to capture his first Kentucky Open title by a single stroke over Logan Hogge. Musselman’s final round 67 was flawless, as he made four birdies and no bogies to hold off Hogge, who fired a 64 to charge up the leaderboard.
About the course: 2018 will mark the second time in tournament history that Harmony Landing has hosted the Kentucky Open, having previously hosted the championship in 1970. The course dates back to 1929, when it was originally designed as a 9-hole course by George Davis. The present championship layout was designed by Hal Purdy in 1966 and is a classic parkland course, with tree-lined fairways and a difficult set of green complexes that will surely challenge the field this week.
Championship Connections: The course is famously home to PGA Tour star Justin Thomas, where his father Mike has been a longtime PGA Professional. The course annually hosts the Justin Thomas Junior Championship each spring, which gathers the top junior players from across the country for a 54-hole stroke play competition. The course held its own this past April, as Austin Vukovitz of Fishers, Indiana won with a three round total of 214 (+1).
A total of 156 players will be vying for the Kentucky Open Championship, of which 95 are amateurs and 61 are professionals. 97 players gained entry into the tournament through one of four local qualifying sites, and the remaining 59 players were exempt based on previous accomplishments.
There are a total of eight past champions in the field. They are:
- Ralph Landrum (Crestview Hills, KY) – 1987 champion
- Keith Ohr (Louisville, KY) – 2001 and 2012 champion
- Matt Savage (a) (Bowling Green, KY) – 2006 and 2009 champion
- Trey Bowling (a) (Manchester, KY) – 2008 champion
- Andy Roberts (a) (Owensboro, KY) – 2010 champion
- Brandon Brown (Shelbyville, KY)– 2011 Champion
- Kent Bulle (Murfreesboro, KY) – 2015 Champion
- Cooper Musselman (Louisville, KY) – 2017 champion
Three of the players in the field this week had the unique opportunity of competing in the PGA Tour’s return to Kentucky. Cooper Musselman (Louisville, KY), Tyler McDaniel (Manchester, KY) and Grover Justice (Lexington, KY) all earned exemptions into the field at the 2018 Barbasol Championship at the Champions at Keene Trace Golf Club. Both Musselman (2017 Kentucky Open Champion) and McDaniel (2017 Kentucky Amateur Champion) made the cut, finishing T57 and T60 respectfully.
2017 Kentucky PGA Player of the Year Grover Justice will begin the championship hoping to become the first PGA Professional since Keith Ohr (2012) to capture the title. Justice is coming off a strong showing at the PGA Professional Championship in Seaside, California, where he finished T38 and the low Kentucky professional. He is currently a teaching professional at the High Performance Golf Center in Nicholasville.
2015 champion Kent Bulle is a current member of the Web.com tour. He is twice a winner of the Visa Open de Argentina (2015 and 2016), and played in both the 2016 U.S. Open and 2017 Open Championship, where he made the cut.
At age 16, Davis Money (a) of Louisville, KY is the youngest player in the field. Money is a 2020 high school graduate and recently won the Hurricane Junior Tour’s College Prep Series at University Club of Kentucky with rounds of 72-69—141. Money successfully qualified for the Kentucky Open Championship at the Persimmon Ridge GC qualifier.
Chandler Morgan (a) and Matt Liston (a) both recently punched their ticket to historic Pebble Beach Golf Links by successfully qualifying for the U.S. Amateur Championship. Liston was one of two qualifiers out of the South Kent, Connecticut qualifier, while Chandler Morgan prevailed in a four way playoff to earn his spot at Kearney Hill Golf Links.
Brandon Brown, the 2011 Kentucky Open Champion, had the unique opportunity of competing in the 2013 U.S. Open Championship at Merion Golf Club. Brown played collegiate golf at Easter Kentucky University before turning professional and was a two-time All-Ohio Valley Conference Team selection.
2017 Kentucky Golf Hall of Fame inductee Ralph Landrum was a member of the PGA Tour from 1983 to 1985 and competed in 11 major championships over the course of his career. His best finish was a T-2 in the 1984 Danny Thomas Memphis Classic, and he also finished T-8 at the 1983 U.S. Open at Oakmont Country Club. Landrum is currently the Head Golf Professional at World of Golf in Florence, Kentucky and is the president of Golf House Kentucky and the Kentucky Golf Foundation.
Four of Kentucky’s top junior golfers who are in the field this week got a preview of Harmony Landing this past spring in the annual Justin Thomas Junior Championship. CJ Jones (a) (Frankfort, KY), Chase Landrum (a) (Glasgow, KY), Mason Lenhart (a) (Prospect, KY), and Robert Keyes (a) (Louisville, KY) all competed in the elite invitational tournament. Jones was the highest finisher among the four, shooting rounds of 75-68-78—221 (+8) to finish tied for 8th place.
A total of eleven players are representing the host club of Big Spring Country Club. They are: Will Schneider, Russ Johnson, Cooper Musselman, Matt Liston (a), Allen Hamilton (a), Ross Jordan (a), Ryan Jordan (a), Phil Blythe (a), Andrew Campbell (a), Larry Woods (a) and John Kmetz (a).
Course Set-Up: Harmony Landing will play to a total of 6,752 yards and a par of 35-36—71. The course rating is 72.7 and the slope is 131.
Holes 1-9 will play at 3,302 yards and a par of 35
Holes 10-18 will play at 3,450 yards and a par of 36
In addition to full championship coverage on our website at kygolf.org, players and spectators can join the conversation using the hashtag #KYOpen.
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– Championship Photos on our Flickr page – Flickr.com/kygolf
About the Kentucky PGA
The Kentucky PGA (KPGA) is one of the 41 sections that comprise The PGA of America. Formed in 1925, the Kentucky PGA has a professional membership of more than 325 men and women professionals across the Commonwealth of Kentucky, each of whom is dedicated to promoting the game in Kentucky. Kentucky PGA Professionals are responsible for conducting a variety of golf-related functions, which include general management, golf instruction, tournament operations, golf shop merchandising, junior golf programs, golf club repair, and much more. The KPGA is a founding member of Golf House Kentucky, the umbrella organization that manages Kentucky’s Family of Golf Organizations.