BY MIKE FIELDS
It’s been a special homecoming for Josh Teater so far this week at the Barbasol Championship, and he’s put himself in position to make it storybook special.
Teater, who graduated from Henry Clay and Morehead State, had lots of family and friends cheering him on as he fired a 6-under-par 66 Friday in the second round of the PGA TOUR event at Champions at Keene Trace.
Going into the weekend, he’s 10-under, 5 shots off the clubhouse lead held by Troy Merritt.
But Teater isn’t sure when he’ll get to play the third round.
Severe weather suspended play at mid-afternoon Friday. When the horn sounded, only 41 golfers (out of 132) had finished, and 27 had yet to start their second round.
The second round will have to be completed Saturday, when more bad weather is expected, before the third round begins.
Teater’s impeccable timing kept him from getting caught in that second-round limbo.
After he hit his tee shot on the par-3 finishing hole, he noticed that a “severe weather” notice. He didn’t think anything of it and proceeded to lag his 20-foot birdie putt, then tapped in for par.
Seconds later, the horn sounded and play was halted.
“Sometimes you mark ‘em, sometimes you don’t,” Teater said of his one-footer. “But I’m glad I tapped it in. I can rest the rest of the day.”
He couldn’t have had a better start Friday. He collected birdies on three of the first five holes, then rolled in a 15-foot eagle at the sixth to get to 5-under. The gallery hooted its approval.
Teater said he was “pretty juiced” at that point, but his momentum stalled. He parred the next 10 holes before picking up a birdie at the par-5 17th to get to 6-under.
“All in all it was a good day,” he said. “Kind of low stress. When you’re hitting greens and rolling it up there for tap-ins, that’s the easiest way to play this game.”
Lee Chaney, his caddie and long-time friend, said he could remember Teater missing only a couple shots all day.
“I was just trying to stay out of his way,” he said.
According to Teater, that’s part of being a good caddie: “When guys are playing their best, that’s what a caddie does – he steps back and lets the player operate.”
Teater is operating with a lot of support this week. He said he’s “feeding off” the fans cheering him on. He just hopes the weather cooperates and the tournament gets to a 72-hole conclusion so the Lexington area gets the full enjoyment of its first PGA TOUR experience.
Teater shrugged off the notion that he sacrificed a lot to play in the Barbasol Championship.
He’s currently fighting to finish in the top 25 on the Web.com Tour (and earn his PGA TOUR card). But instead of playing in the Web.com event in Omaha. Neb., this week, he’s here at home helping to launch the Barbasol Championship.
“People say it’s a risk, but I wouldn’t miss it here for anything,” he said. “To be in this position is a bonus. This is why we came here – to try to win.”