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Cali to Sandwich, Barnes last-minute alternate

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SANDWICH, England – Ricky Barnes’ great adventure began in Chicago, where he waited after missing the cut at last week’s John Deere Classic for word if he would play this week’s Open Championship.

After two days playing golf and hanging around Chicago, Barnes, who began the week as the seventh alternate, caught a flight home to California on Monday afternoon but on his way he received a text message from the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews that he’d moved to first alternate.

Barnes took a red-eye from San Francisco to London and arrived at Royal St. George’s at about 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, just enough time to play 14 practice holes.

At 1 p.m. on Thursday Barnes learned that he was in the field when Nicolas Colsaerts withdrew because of an elbow injury he suffered while riding a scooter around Sandwich. It’s the second year in a row Barnes earned a spot as an alternate.

“I didn’t want to be the guy who was in California who got in,” said Barnes, who opened with a 2-under 68 and is tied for sixth.