When the official announcement came down just before 10 a.m. Sunday morning that the final round of the Barefoot Classic had been cancelled after heavy rain left parts of the Greg Norman course underwater, Barber was guaranteed his initial Tour triumph. The 28-year-old Orlando resident, finishing his third round Sunday morning after darkness halted play the night before, struggled to a 1-over par 73 for a 54-hole total of 204, two strokes better than Dave Christensen (Otsego, MN), Nathan Green (Australia) and Patrick Moore (Cornelius, NC). Craig Matthew (Ile Bizard, QC) and Dave Branshaw (Tampa, FL) would up three shots back.
On Saturday, a torrential downpour sparked a two hour delay, and when Barber resumed his third round at 4:33 p.m., he promptly gave up five strokes to Green over five holes before play was suspended for the day. Suddenly, his seemingly comfortable six-shot lead was down to just two entering Sunday.
'I treated these last few holes (in round three Sunday) as if they were the last of the tournament,' he conceded. 'After the weather forecast, I knew it was, at best, 50/50 that we would be able to play the final round. The way Nathan and Dave were coming on, I'd be lying if I said I wanted to play today.'
A week ago at the Myrtle Beach Open, Barber seemed poised to grab that elusive first win when he held on to a one-stroke lead making the turn on Sunday. Nine holes later, Barber was on the outside looking in as Ireland's Eamonn Brady collected the winner's cheque.
'To be able to shake the monkey off my back is big, especially after what happened last week. They say that the first one is always the hardest to get, and that's exactly how it's been for me.'
After bogeying the 16th hole, his first of the day when third-round play resumed Sunday, Barber sunk a birdie putt on the 17th to essentially nail the door shut. Calling it the biggest putt of his pro career, Barber played it conservative on the final hole in earning the $24,000 top prize.
Christensen, meanwhile, was obviously looking forward to playing the final round after carding a course-record 64 on Saturday. Still, he tipped his cap to Barber.
'It would have been a lot of fun to get back out there today. But I'm happy for Aaron-he is a great guy and a great player.'