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The Tour Report

July 13 2012

5:51 PM

Barnes' putter coming around

Barnes storms up leaderboard

Ricky Barnes is in the running for his first PGA TOUR win.

Ricky Barnes is plenty long, a good iron player and makes his share of birdies. But the one thing holding him back -- and perhaps the reason the 31-year-old is still searching for his first PGA TOUR win -- is his putting. Barnes is changing that in a big way this week -- and it shows. Barnes, ranked 180th out of 184 players in Strokes Gained-Putting this season, was ranked fourth in the field in SGP in Round 1 at the John Deere Classic. He has continued his solid iron play -- and putting -- in Round 2 on Friday en route to a 4-under 67, highlighted by an eagle 3 on the 17th hole. Barnes trails leader Troy Matteson by two shots heading into the weekend. "11 under after two rounds. If you would have told me that on Thursday morning before I teed off, I’ll take it. And here I am," Barnes said. Barnes, 98th in FedExCup points, Barnes ranks 39th in greens in regulation and 25th in total birdies on the year. But his putting has always held him back. He ranked 172nd in SGP in 2011, 98th in '10 and 184 of 184 in '09. His best finishes this season are third at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am and T25 at the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide Insurance -- his only two top-25s of the year.