Barnes hopes to atone for last years near-miss
It’s an easy course to remember for the 29-year-old California native.
He certainly remembers his last round at a U.S. Open.
A year ago, Barnes was one of the feel-good stories at Bethpage Black, a young star that never quite reached expectations suddenly flourishing on one of golf’s biggest stages.
He led the U.S. Open after three rounds, sitting at 8 under with 18 holes to go. It all unraveled in a final-round 76 that left Barnes tied for second and two shots behind champ Lucas Glover.
Despite faltering, Barnes only looks back at the positives from last year.
“Nothing but good thoughts,” Barnes said after finishing up on the range Monday afternoon. “I was close and everything, but I’ve got another chance this year and I’ve just got to keep on building up my game.”
Still without a PGA Tour victory in his career, Barnes’ game has finally stabilized in the months since his U.S. Open run. He’s made the cut in 13 of 16 events this season, including five top-10 finishes. He finished in a tie for third two weeks ago at The Memorial and tied for 10th at the Masters in April.
The performances in the last year helped legitimize Barnes’ effort at last year’s Open when he became just the fourth golfer in Open history to reach double-digits under par.
“The game is coming around. I feel a little more confident when I’m out there and my game is proving it,” he said.
When he finished his college career at Arizona in 2003 as the reigning U.S. Amateur champion, Barnes was lumped among a wave of young talent about to enter the professional game. But the Stockton, Calif. native floundered.
His finish at the Open earned Barnes $559,830 and spots in the British Open and 2010 Masters and U.S. Open – huge perks for a player who spent the previous four full seasons on the Nationwide Tour. Before surging into contention at Bethpage Black, Barnes had made only six cuts and $68,667 in 12 regular PGA Tour events.
Now he gets an opportunity to erase last year at a course he knows quite well. Barnes played in the Open at Pebble Beach 10 years ago as a 19-year-old amateur qualifier. Barnes missed the cut that year, finishing at 13-over in two rounds.
“I think I’m meeting what I expected and playing where I expected to be playing the last couple of years,” Barnes said. “No one had higher expectations than I did of myself. I’ve just proven (it) to myself, but other people as well.”
PRO TOO SOON: Scott Langley nearly turned pro without anyone knowing.
Two weeks ago, Langley won the NCAA individual championship. The Illinois star finished at 10 under to win by two shots, and a few days later earned a qualifying spot for this week’s Open at Pebble Beach.
During his interview Monday morning, Langley, about to enter his senior season at Illinois, slipped up talking about his status.
“I couldn’t have probably drawn it up any better than to pick my, not only my first major, but my first professional event to be out here. So yeah, it’s pretty special,” Langley said.
To which the moderator asked if Langley had turned pro.
“No, no, I’m an amateur,” he quickly answered. “But my first event on this stage. So I’m an amateur.”
Langley is one of the lucky youngsters to already have the “wow” factor of Pebble Beach out of the way, having played the course as part of the Champions Tour’s First Tee Open in 2006. While the course is setup completely different than four years ago, the focus for Langley can now be on his play and not the surroundings – for the most part.
“Yes, I’ll be distracted by the scenery just a little bit, but it’s nice to be able to just focus on what I need to do,” Langley said.
CHIP SHOTS: Glover, the defending champion, spent part of Monday participating in a youth clinic to help kick off the week of activities. More than 800 local kids turned out for the event at nearby Bayonet and Black Horse in Seaside, Calif. … “June Gloom” was in full effect Monday: fog and low clouds most of the day. Temperatures all week are expected to hover in the upper 50s and low 60s with only brief breakouts of sun.
Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son
ORLANDO, Fla. - Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for a 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the PNC Father-Son Challenge.
Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in this popular 36-hole scramble. His son said he practiced hard for 10 days. What helped put him at ease was watching his father make so many putts.
''We combined very well,'' Cabrera said. ''When I hit a bad shot, he hit a good one. That's the key.''
They had a one-shot lead over Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara, who are playing for the first time. That included a birdie on the last hole, which O'Meara attributed to the strength of his son.
''My little man hit it 58 yards by me on the 18th,'' said O'Meara, the Masters and British Open champion in 1998. ''It's a little easier coming in with a 6-iron.''
Defending champions David Duval and Nick Karavites rallied over the back nine at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club for a 61. They are trying to become the first father-son team to repeat as winners since Bernhard and Stefan Langer in 2006. Larry Nelson won two years in a row in 2007 and 2008, but with different sons.
''I'd imagine we have to break 60 tomorrow to have a chance to win, but hey, stranger things have happened,'' Duval said. ''I've even done it myself.''
Duval shot 59 at the Bob Hope Classic to win in 1999 on his way to reaching No. 1 in the world that year.
Duval and his stepson were tied with Bernhard Langer and 17-year-old Jason Langer, who made two eagles on the last five holes. This Langer tandem won in 2014.
Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.
Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?
Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.
Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”
Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told GolfChannel.com that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.
Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.
The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.
Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters
JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.
Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.
Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.
Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational
Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.
The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.