Barber relishing chance at PGA Tour debut after infamous DQ

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LOS ANGELES – Blayne Barber is relishing his chance at Riviera Country Club this week.

Three months after he disqualified himself from the first stage of Q-School for signing for an incorrect scorecard, he’s poised to make his PGA Tour debut at the Northern Trust Open.

Barber made it through the tournament’s pre-qualifier last week with a 66 at Morongo Golf Club and through the Monday qualifier this week with a 65 at Industry Hills Golf Club to gain a spot in his first PGA Tour event.

“It's very exciting,” Barber said after a practice round Tuesday. “I didn't sleep a whole lot last night. I was ready to get out here and get going.”

Barber’s career looked like it hit a hard detour after his disqualification at Q-School. He was a standout at Auburn who played in the Walker Cup two years ago. Last year marked the last time a player could play himself straight on to the PGA Tour through Q-School. Beginning this year, Q-School is staged for access to the Web.com Tour only.

Barber’s DQ was a complicated mess. He penalized himself a shot before signing his scorecard, believing that was the penalty for clipping a loose impediment – a leaf – in a bunker. He later learned it actually should have been a two-shot penalty and called tournament officials to DQ himself.

The mistake hasn’t haunted Barber. He went on to win two NGA Tour events after the DQ.

“I didn't really think of it as a deterrent at all,” Barber said. “I just knew that it was a learning experience, a critical learning experience, and it caused some problems. But it's just a part of the process, and I'm still young and still have a lot of golf ahead of me.  I just moved on from it very quickly.”

Barber said he has been surprised by all the encouragement he received after the DQ. He says it has given him a platform to share his Christian faith.

“I’ve had a lot of kids and parents and school teachers come to me and say, `Thank you for doing what you did, for doing the right thing,’” Barber said.