“It's hard to keep your confidence level up when you're having a hard time.”
That was Rich Barcelo, who certainly has had a hard time this season with just nine cuts made in 21 starts and zero top-10s to show for it. Fast forward to Friday, though, and Barcelo is just two shots off the lead after a 67.
“It just goes to show that it's a hard game and you practice every day and things don't go your way sometimes,” said Barcelo, whose best career finish on the PGA TOUR is a tie for fourth at the 2007 Reno-Tahoe Open. “All I can do is just keep working on things that I'm working on with my coaches, and believe in my system and what I'm doing, and hopefully things will work out.”
One thing that has worked out for Barcelo, who has five missed cuts and a WD in his last six starts,, is his putting. He’s averaging 1.640 putts per green in regulation, which is good for sixth in the field. Of course when you hit 14 greens in regulation, it takes a little pressure off your putting. Making a 40-footer on his first hole obviously helped, too.
But where did this sudden turnaround come from?
“I went to go see my instructor [the week before the Nationwide Tour’s Albertsson’s Boise Open], and we found something in my swing that was very glaring that we had overlooked,” Barcelo said. “We'd been so caught up in what the club was doing, and we weren't looking at what my lower body was doing; and really found something that I've been keying on.
“We both looked at each other, and the light went off and we go, how after four years have we never seen this?”
What they had missed was that Barcelo’s left leg was bent and soft through impact, meaning he couldn’t “post up",” as he called it, on his left side. the result was that his club was getting behind. The problem was compounded by shoulder problems and the result was his worst golf of the season. Until now, that is.
“Now I feel great and hopefully things are on the right track,” Barcelo said. -- Brian Wacker
If not for a bogey on his final hole, Rich Barcelo would have recorded his lowest-ever round on the PGA TOUR. On the upside, his 65 leaves him in a five-way tie for second (and matches his career-best score) in what was a wild round for 35-year-old.
At one point, Barcelo rattled off five straight birdies on his way to shooting a front-nine 30. He added two more birdies on Nos. 10 and 11, but he gave them back with a double-bogey on No. 14 before bouncing back with two more birdies and that closing bogey.
In the meantime, Vance Veazey just grabbed the clubhouse lead with a 64. He, too, shot 30 on the front nine, although Veazey began his round on the ninth hole, which he birdied, before a birdie on his last hole of the day, the par-3 eighth. The 64 also matches Veazey’s career-low, -- Brian Wacker
This year’s RBC Canadian Open is a little different. For one, players are going off the first and ninth tees instead of Nos. 1 and 10 because the ninth hole is about 600 yards closer to the clubhouse than the 10th is. Also, the driving range is off-property. For another, St. George’s is playing host to the event for the first time since 1968.
“Very impressed. It's obviously old school. It's tough,” Paul Casey said earlier this week of the new venue. “Gotta keep the ball below the hole. Gotta keep the ball in the fairway.
“I think there are plenty of birdies out there, but it's incredibly easy to make bogeys.”
That hasn’t been the case so far, though -- Rich Barcelo is 6 under through 11 holes, while Dean Wilson is the early clubhouse leader at 5 under after five birdies, no bogeys and 26 putts. -- Brian Wacker