The Barracuda Championship begins Thursday as the PGA Tour heads to Reno’s Montrêux Golf and Country Club. The golf season is winding down, making FedEx Cup points all the more valuable as golfer’s look to solidify their post-season position. In their way is the Jack Nicklaus designed masterpiece of mountain golf.
Defending Champion Chris Stroud
2017 Barracuda Championship winner Chris Stroud is a 36 year old professional golfer hailing from Houston, TX. He spent his early years as a professional bouncing around mini tours, before gaining his PGA Tour status in 2006 through Qualifying school. Unfortunately, Stroud was forced to repeat this feat again in 2007 and 2008 as he failed to finish high enough in the final standings to keep his Tour card before solidifying his position on the Tour making up the numbers. So when Stroud entered his 290th PGA Tour event without a single win, no one was predicting his first would come in Reno. However, Stroud stayed near the head of the pack heading into the final day of play, and strong push on the last 6 holes saw Stroud shoot 3 birdies and an eagle. That was enough to finish in a 3-way tie for first with Greg Owen and Richy Werenski. After 2 holes, Stroud hit a birdie that handed him his first win in 11 years on the PGA Tour. He will look to gain his second professional win by returning to the Barracuda Championship.
In addition to Stroud, the field has a wide-open feel as many of the Tour’s top professionals take a week to recover from the Canadian Open. Beau Hossler is the top ranked golfer but will face challenges from veteran and former U.S. Open winners Retief Goosen and Graeme McDowell. The field also features some of the top amateurs new professionals who will look to bring a big upset. U.S. Amateur champion Doc Redman will look to add to his resume, while recent professional and former standout collegiate golfer Norman Xiong also attempts a strong showing. Local boy Grant Booth, still playing his NCAA golf at the University of Nevada, is expecting to have huge support as he plays the event on an exemption.