ST. ANDREWS, Scotland – Ricky Barnes was on the verge of something special until the winds shifted midway through his round, he made a mess of the 14th hole and failed to take advantage of a good break on the 17th.
Five under par through 13 holes and 9 under for the tournament, Barnes missed his drive into a deep bunker at No. 14 and took double bogey. Three holes later when his approach ended up on the path behind the 17th green he was given a drop into the grass but didn’t get his chip onto the green and signed for a bogey.
“One bad tee shot (No. 14) and I didn’t take the medicine and took the ultimate penalty,” said Barnes, who shot 71 and is currently tied for ninth at 5 under. “It sucks. I could have been 10, 11, 12 under and now I’m 5 (under).”
For those who viewed Barnes’ name atop the Open Championship leaderboard as an aberration, consider that in his last three majors he’s finished T-2 (2009 U.S. Open), T-10 (2010 Masters) and T-27 (2010 U.S. Open).
Barnes could also take some solace as the winds began to build Friday afternoon. His 5-under total all but assures him low-Ricky honors with Rickie Fowler mired at 3 over and likely to miss the cut.