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Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Verizon Heritage Steeplechase

I'm not sure any tournament has been a better example of "horses for courses" than the Verizon Heritage this week. The par-71 course is a mere 6973 yards (short for these players), and the pros are basically stampeding along its narrow fairways. An amazing 82 players made the cut at even par!

While a lot of players are grabbing attention this week -- Jim Furyk and Luke Donald are rebounding from missed cuts at the Masters, Nick O'Hearn shot a 64, Stephen Ames and Fredrik Jacobson each 65, and Brian Gay (who blitzed the field by 10 strokes last year) is well back at 2-under -- I'd like to take a quick look at Ricky Barnes. After a Top 10 at Augusta, he has quietly gotten himself to 9-under, currently T3.

Length doesn't mean a lot at Harbour Town because it's so short, but Driving Accuracy does. Barnes is T10 in the field at 78.6%. He's only T40 in GIR at 59.3% hit, but the commentators are saying that the tricky nature of the fairways there make hitting 12 of 18 a real accomplishment, so he's actually doing pretty well there. I don't see stats for his scrambling this week, but he's T5 in total putts (25.3 per round) and #1 in putts per GIR. Measured against my 67 rule, this is putting him in great shape for a run on Sunday.

Will Barnes be the subject of my Limerick Summary tomorrow, or will it be Furyk (the current leader) or someone else? It's too close to call right now. But after a long struggle, it looks like Ricky Barnes may have found his game again...

Provided he can avoid getting trampled in the stampede. Horseshoes can do a lot of damage to an otherwise good swing.

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