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The Tour Report

July 12 2012

2:57 PM

Barnes credits 64 to good putting

Interview: Rickie Barnes

Ricky Barnes reflects on his play in the 2012 John Deere Classic with Fred Albers from SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio.

By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM The stat is eye-opening. Ricky Barnes ranks 180th in strokes gained putting -- and in relation to the field average, he's been on the negative side of the ledger in 13 of the 19 events he's played this year. So Barnes knew he had to do something. Particularly after he shot four sub-par rounds last week at The Greenbrier Classic and only tied for 38th. "Yeah, I played well last week," Barnes said. "Just didn't make many putts last week. Like you said, four rounds -- my caddie and I were talking (and we hadn't done that) since Pebble Beach this year. It was kind of nice to get back in that frame of mind shooting in the 60s every round." He's added some weight to the head of his No. 9 Odyssey putter and practiced diligently. Judging by Thursday's 64 that propelled him to the early lead at the John Deere Classic, the hard work is paying off. Barnes made eight birdies and just one bogey in the first round. The key? He only had 26 putts after hitting 83 percent of his greens in regulation. "That's kind of what we've been doing and what's been lacking for me finishing in the top 10, top 5, and competing," Barnes said. "Hit enough greens. I think another 15 or 16 today.  Did a lot of that last week. It's also a little misleading sometimes with the proximity of the hole when you feel like you're striking it well and not taking advantage of the opportunities when he have 'em. "It was fortunate or nice to see that I did that today."