Saturday, September 22, 2018

Ricky Barnes, winless on PGA Tour, takes lead at Texas Open

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

Winless in 221 starts with a career-best runnerup finish in the 2009 U.S. Open, Barnes, 35, had 11-under 205 at TPC San Antonio. He closed with 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 shooting 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 68. Hoffman missed a 7-foot birdie putt on the last hole and settled for 70.

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

Patrick Reed was fifth at 8 under after 70. He was born in San Antonio.

Former Gator Billy Horschel (67) and three-time major winner Padraig Harrington (68) were 7 under along with Chad Collins (67), Jon Curran (71), Martin Piller (71) and Nick Taylor (66).

Horschel hasn't won since the 2014 Tour Championship. Harrington has one PGA win, last year in the Honda Classic, since he 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 a cactus.

"A bad swing at the end," Barnes said. "If you told me 5 under (Saturday), I would have taken it before the round."

He birdied Nos. 11, 12 and 14 to take the lead. He managed that despite finding the fairway bunker at No. 12, and he blasted to 3 feet from a greenside bunker at the par-5 14th.

LPGA: Haru Nomura shot 1-under 71 in cool and breezy conditions at Lake Merced to maintain a three-stroke lead in the Swinging Skirts Classic in Daly City, Calif. The Japanese player, 23, had three birdies and two bogeys to take a 10-under 206 total into the final round. South Africa's Lee-Anne Pace (69) and South Korea's Na Yeon Choi (710) were tied for second.

CHAMPIONS: Woody Austin and Michael Allen shot 12-under 59 in better-ball play to take the second-round lead in the Legends of Golf in Ridgedale, Mo. Austin, a Tampa native who lives in Kansas, and Allen played Buffalo Ridge's Springs Course after opening with 5-under 49 on the par-3 Top of the Rock course. Defending champions Billy Andrade and Joe Durant were a stroke back at 16 under along with the teams of David Frost-Roger Chapman and Kenny Perry-Scott Hoch.

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