Ricky Barnes won the 2002 U.S. Amateur, and big things were expected of the California native. There were glimpses of his potential but never any trophies. Now, at 35, Barnes could land his first PGA Tour win on Sunday.
On the back of a 5-under 67 on Saturday at TPC San Antonio, Barnes will carry a one-shot lead into the final round of the Valero Texas Open. At 11-under 205, Barnes will take his advantage into Sunday’s final group along with 2011 winner and solo second place Brendan Steele, as well Luke Donald, who shares third with Charley Hoffman.
Barnes is seeking that first win in 222 PGA Tour starts, with his best-ever finish a tie for second at the rainy and muddy 2009 U.S. Open at Bethpage Black on Long Island, N.Y. Despite having made $6.65 million in his PGA Tour career, Barnes isn’t satisfied having banked a lot of money.
“I’d be lying if I would say it was a successful career being out here without a win,” Barnes said. “This is why you play the game, right? Come in on Sundays and have a chance to win.”
Steele, who played alongside Barnes as he finished T-9 last week at the RBC Heritage, is looking for a follow-up win to a rookie season breakthrough here five years ago. He did well to shoot even-par 72 on Saturday.
“I played with Ricky last week, and his game is looking really good right now,” said Steele. “I was really struggling. I was able to make enough recovery shots to not make many mistakes and I was able to be patient enough and make a couple of birdies at the end.”
Barnes made eight of 10 cuts to start his season but has since missed three of his last five. However, Barnes feels confident that this isn’t a one-off.
“It’s not a fluke being out here,” said Barnes. “I’ve been showing a lot lately. Just need to keep what I’m doing the last three days.”
LISTEN TO OUR WEEKLY GOLF PODCAST! This week: Why golf still obsesses over Tiger Woods