BY MIKE FIELDS
The Musselman name has been tied to golf in Kentucky for more than 50 years.
To drop a few names: Bill Musselman won 5 Kentucky State Amateur championships. Tom Musselman was one of the founders of the Musselman-Dunne Tour for junior players. Tom Jr. won a State Am. And Ches Musselman played college golf at Kentucky.
But the Musselman extended family celebrated a golf first this week: Cooper Musselman not only became the first to play in a PGA TOUR event, he shot a 2-under 70 on Thursday and a 3-under 69 on Saturday to make the cut at Champions at Keene Trace.
Musselman, who graduated from Kentucky less than two months ago, had to fight off nerves coming down the stretch. He was 6-under for the tournament when he “accidentally peeked” at a scoreboard and saw the cut was going to be 4-under.
“Once I caught that number, I couldn’t stop thinking about it,” he said. “I had a bad thought in my head.”
He bogeyed the 17th to drop a shot, but he closed with a par on the 18th.
Watching him walk a tightrope the final few holes were his parents Ches and JoAnn, along with a half-dozen other Musselmans.
“I was probably more nervous than he was,” his dad said. “I thought he was comfortable the whole day until the last two holes when he started thinking about it.
“But it was a lot of fun today. He played better than yesterday when he was just grinding. Today his ball-striking was there and he putted well.”
Ches Musselman wasn’t surprised his son made the cut. “I’ve watched him play his whole life, and he’s got game.”
Cooper didn’t lack for confidence, either.
“I’ve always felt any tournament I play in I can make the cut,” he said. “I’m glad I could show that today.”
Having made the cut, Musselman had to turn around less than hour later and tee off in the third round at Championship at Keene Trace. He said making the cut was “the main goal. Now I can play a little more free, and hopefully the birdies will fly.”