ISCO Championship, anomalous week on PGA

In the United States it will certainly be an anomalous week, for one of those very few tournaments of the year in which the starting field in the Old Continent is light years better than that across the ocean

by Andrea Gussoni
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ISCO Championship, anomalous week on PGA
© Getty Images Sport - Streeter Lecka / Staff

In the United States it will certainly be an anomalous week, for one of those very few tournaments of the year in which the starting field in the Old Continent is light years better than that across the ocean. The PGA Tour organises, in cohabitation with the DP World Tour, the ISCO Championship, an event which however offers very important points for the FedExCup and has various reasons of interest, including the incredible number of six players from the Bel Paese.

It is played in Kentucky for the sixth year in a row.

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The course is the Keene Trace Golf Club, a very long par 72 of over seven thousand three hundred yards. Course designed in 1987 by Arthur Hills, and soon became one of the most renowned in the Bluegrass State.

Large greens and numerous bunkers are the distinctive features of Keene Trace, while the most evocative par 4 is a dramatic finish on the 18th built around the banks of a lake. The course record is -11 (61), while over 72 holes the best was Jim Herman, closing the week with 262 strokes in 2019.

On the field there will be an eclectic mix of emerging stars competing against established champions. Reigning PGA TOUR University No. 1 Michael Thorbjornsen returns to action on the circuit for a third consecutive week after finishing in a tie for second at the John Deere Classic on Sunday, making his third start as a professional.

He will certainly be one of the most anticipated, as will Luke Clanton. The 2003 class is still an amateur, but comes from two consecutive top-10s on the PGA Tour (becoming the first non-professional since 1958 to do so), including second place last week shared with Thorbjornsen.

However, there will also be important winners on the PGA Tour at the start, including Daniel Berger, J.J. Ryan Brehm and Camilo Villegas. Adam Long instead received an invitation from the organization, as did former major champion Jason Dufner.

Then there are around 50 golfers who usually attend the DP World Tour who will play in Kentucky, including six Italians: Filippo Celli, Francesco Laporta, Edoardo Molinari, Andrea Pavan, Renato Paratore and Lorenzo Scalise.

The blue team that usually plays in Europe is moving to America, and it will be very interesting to see what they can combine on different courses, faster greens and a completely new environment. For many it will be an absolute first on the PGA Tour, and curiosity is inevitably high.

All eyes are focused above all on Celli, fresh from three consecutive top-10s and who could make a splash. In the utopian case of a victory this week, there would be the certainty of a career changed forever.

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