By Jeff Shearer
AUBURN, Ala. - From the barber shop photo op to the PGA Tour event, former Auburn golfer Patton Kizzire hopes the same principle applies.
“Shaving a few hairs off my face and a few strokes off my game is the idea this week,” said Kizzire, who joined fellow former Auburn golfer Matt Gilchrest Tuesday for a shave at Campus Barber Shop downtown to promote this week’s Barbasol Championship at Grand National in Opelika.
“We played it a pretty good bit in college,” said Kizzire, who has earned nearly a million dollars in 2017 and has seven top 10 PGA Tour finishes in the past two seasons. “There is a little pressure, but there’s also the comfort factor. I’m familiar with Grand National, comfortable here in Auburn, have a lot of friends here. I’m going to use that to my advantage and have a fun week. I played here in 2015, didn’t do my best, looking for a little redemption.”
Former Tiger Blayne Barber and Aubie joined the festivities, with the former saying he had too little facial hair to shave and the latter likely possessing too much.
“Being at home is just great,” said Barber, who lives in Auburn. “I love being able to be with my family but also play in the tournament. It’s just a perfect setup. I always look forward to this week and the Barbasol.
“Grand National is in great shape. I really think it fits my game well. Any time you can sleep in your own bed there’s just a comfort level. I like it a lot there.”
Recent graduate Matt Gilchrest hopes to follow former teammate Michael Johnson’s example from last year’s Barbasol. In his first PGA Tour event, Johnson finished third, earning $238,000.
“How easy did he make that look? That’s supposed to be the hardest thing ever and he just made it look like a piece of cake,” said Gilchrest, who barely missed the cut while playing as an amateur in 2016. “That was really cool and he’s doing well on the Web.com Tour. If I can play anything like he did, we’re in for a great week.”
Kizzire, still admiring his close shave from the sidewalk on College Street, says having a PGA Tour event so close to campus benefits Auburn’s golf program.
“It’s a great situation for all of us who played here at Auburn. It’s an advantage that we have. Kids who come to Auburn to play golf have an advantage that they get to play at PGA Tour event in their own backyard. Coach Nick Clinard has the golf program heading in a great direction.”
Kizzire, the 2007 SEC champion, checked in on another Tiger team Monday after visiting Clinard at Auburn’s golf facility.
“It’s exciting to be back,” Kizzire said. “I went by basketball practice yesterday. I just love Auburn Athletics, and Auburn the town.”
Jeff Shearer is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @jeff_shearer