Barnes shares lead with 65

Ricky Barnes carded a 6-under-par 65 to tie for the lead with Scott Piercy after three rounds of the Barbasol Championship in 100-degree temperature at Grand National Golf Club on the Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in Opelika, Ala.

The Barbasol is an opposite-field event on the PGA Tour for players who did not qualify for the 144th Open Championship at St. Andrews.

The 34-year-old Barnes, a native of Stockton who has never won on the PGA Tour after a brilliant amateur career, collected three birdies on the first five holes and four more on the back nine, making his only bogey on the fourth hole.

“It was hot; I must have gone through seven or eight bottles of water,” said Barnes, the 2002 U.S. Amateur champion who was an All-American at the University of Arizona. “I was swinging well and it doesn’t take long to get loose.

“I’ve been playing some good rounds lately, but not putting everything together. I found some good trigger points this week and they are working. I’m a low-ball hitter and I have to keep the ball forward in my stance to get it up in the air.

“I’ve been in this position before (and haven’t won), but I just have to go out and play good golf the way I know I can and if it goes my way, great. It’s always fun to be in the hunt on the PGA Tour on Sunday.”

Piercy, a two-time winner on the PGA Tour, birdied four of the first five holes and also had three birdies on the back plus his only bogey at No. 15.

He sank a three-foot birdie putt on the final hole to pull even with Gore at 13-under 200.

“I played great today even though I struggled a bit on the greens,” said Piercy, who won the 2011 Reno-Tahoe Open and the 2012 RBC Canadian Open. “I thought I hit some good putts, but I guess not good enough.

“I’ve won a couple of times and most of these guys haven’t so I think that’s an advantage, having gotten it done. My game feels good and I just have to finish it off.”

Jason Gore of Valencia and Pepperdine, whose only PGA Tour victory came in the 2005 84 Lumber Classic, bounced back from a second-round 73 with a bogey-free 63 and was one stroke back in a tie for third with Will Wilcox, who sank a 61-foot eagle putt on the 16th hole en route to a 65, Emiliano Grillo of Argentina, who had a 67, Whee Kim of South Korea, who came in at 68, and Mark Hensby, who totaled 68.

Amateur Robby Shelton, a junior at the University of Alabama, carded a 66 and was three shots behind in a tie for eighth with Vaughn Taylor, who shot 63, Johnson Wagner, who finished at 66, and Sam Saunders, who wound up at 69.


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