Date: November 24, 2007
Author: Bren O'Brien at Huntingdale

Barnes’ second chance

Having missed out at Q-School for the 2008 US PGA Tour, Kurt Barnes is hoping he can book a two-year ticket for Europe by winning the MasterCard Masters at Huntingdale. Barnes dipped out at the second stage of the gruelling US Q-School and flew back this week to prepare himself for the Australian summer of golf. As a former Australian amateur champion, the 26-year-old is relatively well known in local golf circles, but he is eager to make an impact on the rest of the world. “I shot three-under in the second stage (of the Q-School). My game was almost there when I needed it. I just missed in a few spots and everyone knows that if you hit it in the rough over there, you are chipping out sideways and you can&apost get at the green or the pin. I&aposm happy with the way I&aposm hitting it. I just took the positives out of it,” he said. Clearly he wasn&apost too affected by the events in the US. He has been in excellent touch at Huntingdale this week, and a third-round 65 has put him just one shot off the pace. A win on Sunday would mean a two-year exemption on the European Tour. No matter what happens, Barnes will always be full of confidence. He sported a brash pair of pants on Saturday donated to him by a friend who runs a clothing company in the US. “There were a few comments from the crowd. If they are worried about my pants, they are not really worried about what I am doing with the golf clubs. I certainly blocked it out today and let the clubs talk,” he said. And talk they did. He was accurate off the tee, hitting 14 of 18 fairways and 15 of 18 greens while he had a very reasonable 27 putts. He also birdied the last, statistically the hardest hole on the course. “The last has been good to me over the years. Last year I chipped in from the swale for par. In the first round I hit the tournament offices. Got a drop and got up and down to close with a 69. Then again, yesterday I missed it in the front left bunker and got it up and down. It is always nice to make birdie or a really tricky par in front of the gallery,” he said. Missed Q-Schools, bad pants, Huntingdale&aposs famous 18th are all water off a duck&aposs back for Barnes. Whether playing in the final group with the lure of a gold jacket and a spot on the European Tour proves a bridge too far, we will find out by 5pm on Sunday.