Barber grabs early lead at BMW Charity Pro-Am
May 15, 2014
By Royce Thompson, PGATOUR.COM
- Blayne Barber, the first-round leader, won the South Georgia Classic just two weeks ago. (Stan Badz/PGA TOUR)
MORE: Barber's win puts him on 'different trajectory' | Scores | Rankings | Celebrities in the field
GREENVILLE, S.C. –Blayne Barber, of Lake Mary, Fla., fired a 63 in the first round of the BMW Charity Pro-Am presented by SYNNEX Corporation at Green Valley Country Club and leads by one over South Africa’s Dawie van der Walt.
Five players are tied for third including University of Nevada-Las Vegas’ Bill Lunde and University of Mississippi’s Jonathan Randolph, both of whom played The Reserve at Lake Keowee on Thursday.
Tee times were pushed back four hours because of heavy rain overnight; however play was completed at The Reserve. The host course, Thornblade Club, has three groups remaining on the course, while Green Valley Country Club has one group yet to finish. Play will resume at 7:45 AM ET with the second round starting an hour and a half later than originally scheduled, at 10 A.M.
Barber, who won the South Georgia Classic presented by First State Bank and Trust Company two weeks ago, cannot remember the last time he made 10 birdies in a round. The Auburn, Ala., resident is trying to ride a wave of momentum from his victory as long as possible. Barber advanced to sectional qualifying for next month’s U.S. Open after he fired 66, last Wednesday in Lake Mary, Fla., and earned medalist honors. He continued his torrid pace on Thursday afternoon.
“I'm definitely feeling some carry over from the win in Valdosta,” the 24-year-old University of Auburn graduate said. “It's one of those times when I’m playing well and not thinking a whole lot. “
Barber had an up-and-down season in seven starts on the Web.com Tour in 2013. The second-year pro didn’t have status and was trying to Monday qualify and finish top-25 each week to earn a spot into the next event. The uncertainty of not knowing where you were going to play next was stressful on Barber. This season is different as Barber has been working hard with his coach; has fully exempt status, and currently sits No. 6 on the Regular Season money list.
“I came into the year knowing I had starts and could play,” he said. “I feel like I understand my game well. I'm just playing some good golf and its showing.”
Like in Valdosta when he won, Barber has plenty of support out here this week. His Mom (Terri), Dad, wife (Morgan) and younger sister (Shaylin) are all in the gallery. And to make things even more comfortable out on the golf course, his pro-am partner is his dad's good friend, Tyson Johnson, from Lake City, Fla.
“It makes it really enjoyable,” he said. “It keeps everything nice and relaxed.”
Blayne Barber claims early lead at BMW Charity Pro-Am
First-Round Notes & Quotes:
• Lift, clean and place conditions were in effect at all three courses and will be for the second and third rounds.
• Tee times at all three courses were scheduled to start at 8:30 a.m. Overnight rains that continued on and off throughout the morning led to a four-hour delay. The tournament officially got underway at 12:30 p.m.
• Play was suspended at Thornblade Club for two short periods in the afternoon as a fast-moving rain storm moved through the Greer area. Play was stopped from 2:12 to 2:18 p.m. and then again from 3:03 to 3:10 p.m.
• All play was completed at The Reserve at Lake Keowee. One group will return to Green Valley to play their last hole. Three groups will return to Thornblade Club. All will start at 7:45 a.m.
• The second round is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m., which is 90 minutes later than originally scheduled.
• Leading the Pro-Am portion of the tournament at 12-under par are Skip Kendall/Robert Wade (Green Valley), Jonathan Randolph/Ryan Floyd (The Reserve at Lake Keowee), Alexandre Rocha/Adam Bryant (Thornblade Club) and Andrew Putnam/Rolf Klam (Thornblade Club).
• Leading the Pro-Celebrity competition at 10-under par are Max Homa/Janet Gretzky (Green Valley), Adam Hadwin/Wayne Gretzky (Green Valley) and Cliff Kresge/Steve Azar (Green Valley).
• The first-round scores at the respective courses were:
Thornblade Club (par 71) -- 69.162 (3 groups left on course)
Green Valley Country Club (par 72) -- 69.844 (1 group left on course)
The Reserve at Lake Keowee (par 72) -- 69.696 (No groups left on course)
• Jonathan Randolph’s 65 on Thursday is his lowest first round in nine events on Tour. The 25-year-old University of Mississippi graduate made nine birdies on The Reserve at Lake Keowee in a practice round and was very excited to tee it up there.
“I love this place,” he said. “It reminds me of a course back home that I hold the course record on.”
• Bill Lunde (65) also played The Reserve on Thursday and like Randolph posted his lowest opening round of the season on Tour.
• The BMW Charity Pro-Am presented by SYNNEX Corporation is the ninth of 25 events on the 2014 Web.com Tour schedule. This week’s purse is $650,000 with $117,000 going to the champion. The Tour heads to Raleigh, N.C. next week for the Rex Hospital Open.