Barnes had a big weekend

It took all of two holes on Saturday and Sunday for University of Arizona senior Rick Barnes to jumpstart his round with birdies, and concluded the weekend with scores of 68 and 70. Barnes finished the tournament in a tie for 18th, shooting 11-under par during the four-day event.

His two weekend rounds nearly mirrored each other as Barnes finished his first 10 holes at 5-under par each day. The remaining eight deemed much more difficult, however, as he shot 1-over on Saturday and finished with three bogeys on Sunday.

"Early on I was hitting the ball well, and I got under (par) quickly," said Barnes. "But after (hole) 10 I couldn't make a birdie putt and I was fighting for pars. It just went a little downhill from there."

During his Sunday birdie feast on the front nine, Barnes managed to move into a tie for fourth place, his first appearance on the leader board during the week. Such a feat evoked memories of the 1991 Northern Telecom Open when Phil Mickelson won the event as an amateur.

"(Barnes is) very talented. He's got a lot of strength and a great short game," PGA veteran Stephen Cink said. "Those two things combined usually carry you a long way in golf. Tiger (Woods) started out that way and he's really refined his game, and I think Ricky can do the same thing."

Also on display throughout the tournament was the raw power by the Stockton, California, native. He ranked ninth overall in driving distance for the tournament, averaging 299 yards, including a 314-yard average on Sunday.

"He hits the ball ridiculously long," said PGA professional and playing partner Arron Oberholser. "He's two clubs longer than me with his irons. Meaning that when Ricky's hitting an 8-iron, I'm hitting a 6-iron."

Throughout the week Barnes was followed by a variety of supporters including numerous members of the men's and women's golf teams at the UA, his golf coach Rick LaRose, as well as friends and UA fans. Sunday was no different as his roommate Rick Anderson came out to show support, fresh off of his team's victory over Stanford on Saturday evening.

Another individual who has been a constant support during the past seven days was Barnes' older brother, Andy. This summer, Andy was Ricky's caddy when he won the U.S. Amateur and was slated to carry his bag this week. That is, until Andy qualified for the tournament and had the chance to play on Thursday and Friday.

"It was a fun week," said the younger Barnes. "It was a little disappointing that he didn't make the cut, but it was still great to have him here."

While Barnes felt this week was successful he still views it as a small glimpse of what is to come.

"Playing with these guys was a building block because in six months I plan on being a pro and will compete with them," Barnes said.

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