By LARRY VAUGHT
Thursday is going to be a happy, but hectic day for Cory Kaufman of The Golf Academy at Persimmon Ridge in Louisville.
Four former University of Kentucky golfers — Lukas Euler, Chip McDaniel, Cooper Musselman and Stephen Stallings — all will be playing in the PGA Tour’s Barbasol Championship at Keene Trace Golf Club in Jessamine County and all four are his clients.
He’s been working with Musselman, who played in the Barbasol 2018 and made the cut before finishing 57th at 7-under, since high school. He started with McDaniel after his 60th place finish at 6-under in last year’s Barbasol.
He’s played in seven PGA events since graduating from Kentucky in 2018 and his best finish was a tie for fifth at the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship.
Euler, a 2019 UK grad, will be making his PGA debut as will Stallings, another 2019 Kentucky graduate. Kaufman began working Euler about a year ago. He worked with Stallings when he was in high school and started back with him about eight months ago.
“It’s cool to just be part of their journey. I feel lucky,” Kaufman said. “It’s a journey I tried and did decent. It’s fun but stressful. I’m not going to lie about that. It’s actually more about getting stuff out of their heads versus putting stuff in their head.
“Playing in your home state or even your home town creates a lot of distractions. But it is a big opportunity for all of them. I just tried today to help simplify things and tell them all they were here because they belonged and their game was good enough. Just stick with the process that got you here and that will move you past here to a higher level.
“Last year it was just Cooper I had here. Now I have four and it’s a lot more work, but it is still fun.”
Wednesday he did a lot of “situational” work with all four players, especially after the greens and areas around them started to firm up.
“Just some different stuff with each of them but all situational stuff,” Kaufman said. “Just trying to get them game ready. We look at the course and decide do they need the hybrid or driving iron. What will they use on the par-5’s? There are a couple of holes that you need to cut the ball, a couple of draw holes. How do you approach them?”
Musselman and Stallings also had their performance coach, Betty Baird Kregor, a former age division Junior World Champion. She works at The Golf Academy and is a KHSAA Hall of Famer and perhaps the best junior golfer I have ever seen play.
“She does personality profiles and that’s huge for us to get that so we know what makes each player tick and they are all different,” Kaufman said. “That way we know what type drills will work best for each player. There are a bunch of ways these guys learn and she helps us get the right balance for each of them.
“She was just here to reinforce the positive thoughts and just there for whatever they might want to talk to her about.”
Stallings, Euler and Musselman all have Thursday morning tee times while McDaniel will not tee off until mid-afternoon.
“The plan is they will all play well and we won’t need any band-aids after the rounds,” Kaufman said. “I just want to enjoy it as much as I can. I’ll be around if they need anything but I will mainly just be watching like everybody else.”