Barnes looks for solid Sun­day

Tour vet chas­ing first ti­tle, leads by one shot

Winnipeg Free Press - SundayXtra - - SPORTS -

SAN AN­TO­NIO — Ricky Barnes shot a 5-un­der 67 Satur­day to take a one-stroke lead in the Valero Texas Open in a bid for his first PGA Tour vic­tory.

Win­less in 221 starts with a ca­reerbest run­ner-up fin­ish in the 2009 U.S. Open, the 35-year- old Barnes had an 11-un­der 205 to­tal at TPC San An­to­nio. He closed with a bo­gey af­ter a wild drive near a cac­tus bush on the par-5 18th.

“I’d be lying if I would say it was a suc­cess­ful ca­reer be­ing out here with­out a win,” Barnes said. “This is why you play the game, right? Come in on Sun­days and have a chance to win.”

Brendan Steele, the leader af­ter each of the first two rounds, was sec­ond af­ter a 72.

“I played with Ricky last week, and his game is look­ing re­ally good right now,” said Steele, the 2011 win­ner for his lone tour ti­tle. “I was re­ally strug­gling. I was able to make enough re­cov­ery shots to not make many mis­takes and I was able to be pa­tient enough and make a cou­ple of birdies at the end.”

For­mer world No. 1 Luke Don­ald and three-time tour win­ner Charley Hoff­man were two strokes back. Don­ald, com­ing off a sec­ond-place tie last week in the RBC Her­itage in South Carolina, shot a 68. Hoff­man missed a seven-foot birdie putt on the last hole and set­tled for a 70.

“Sure feels good to be back in con­tention again and hav­ing chances to win,” Don­ald said. “I switched put­ters last week (and am) ob­vi­ously mak­ing more putts.”

Pa­trick Reed was fifth at 8 un­der af­ter a 70. He was born in San An­to­nio. Billy Horschel (67) and three­time ma­jor win­ner Padraig Har­ring­ton (68) were 7 un­der along with Chad Collins (67), Jon Cur­ran (71), Martin Piller (71) and Nick Tay­lor (66) of Ab­bots­ford, B.C.

David Hearn (67) of Brant­ford, Ont., was six strokes back.

Horschel hasn’t won since the 2014 Tour Cham­pi­onship, and Har­ring­ton has one PGA Tour win — last year in the Honda Clas­sic — since his claimed his third ma­jor at the 2008 PGA Cham­pi­onship.

“I think if I’m in com­mand of my game,” Horschel said, “it doesn’t mat­ter where I am. I can get the job done. I’ve fig­ured out some­thing in my swing.”

In ad­di­tion to his seven birdies, Barnes did well to res­cue him­self from trou­ble. His bo­gey from the 18th could have been much worse when his drive went left and set­tled next to the cac­tus.

“A bad swing at the end,” Barnes said. “If you told me 5 un­der to­day, I would have taken it be­fore the round.”

ERIC GAY / THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Sec­ond-round leader Brendan Steele shot 72 Satur­day and sits one back.

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