Ricky Barnes' 62 blows away Tiger Woods at Memorial
DUBLIN, Ohio -- Tiger Woods shot a perfectly respectable 3-under 69 in the third round of the Memorial on Saturday, but he may have felt like he was standing still.
That's because playing partner Ricky Barnes put up a 10-under 62, just one off the course record.
"I got off to a great start," said Barnes, who birdied two of his first three holes, holed a wedge for eagle from 108 yards on the par-5 11th hole, and did not make a bogey. "I think I made about a 35-footer on the first hole. Probably would have run eight, nine feet by, and hit dead center and went in."
Barnes's 62 was among the best rounds ever shot on Tour by a player grouped with Woods.
• Jim Furyk fired a 62 while paired with Woods at Doral in 1998. (Woods shot 69.)
• Paul Goydos had a 62 while playing with Woods in the first round of the '99 Byron Nelson, when Woods shot 61.
"I hadn't played with [Woods] since Olympia Fields," Barnes said, alluding to the 2003 U.S. Open. "We were talking about that."
Back then Barnes was the reigning U.S. Amateur champion, and he carded respectable scores of 71-71 against Tiger's 70-66. (Jim Furyk won the tournament. Barnes tied for 59th, Woods tied for 20th.)
Barnes was paired with Woods for the first two rounds of the '03 Masters, too, and outscored Woods 69-76 in the first round. Woods beat Barnes 73-74 in round two, and the world number one Woods ended up finishing in a tie for 20th place, a shot ahead of Barnes, the amateur from the University of Arizona.
It's been a sometimes rocky professional career for Barnes, 29, whose wristband is inscribed with the words, "Never give up." The runner-up at the 2009 U.S. Open with David Duval and Phil Mickelson, he has fought a hook for much of his career. The shot doomed his chances of winning the Open at Bethpage Black last summer, and he admitted he got away with a few bad drives Saturday at Muirfield Village.
"I had them on the right holes," he said.
Dustin Johnson, the third member of the Barnes-Woods group, shot 73 despite driving the green on the 363-yard, par-4 14th hole.
Barnes beat his career low round, a 64 in Vegas in 2003, and went from 3-under and 10 shots off the lead to 13-under and only three behind leader Rickie Fowler.
"Hard work," Barnes said, explaining his resurgence just under two weeks away from the 2010 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. "You know, patience is definitely a key. I had doubts. I think everyone gets humbled by this game."
Among other adaptations he's made as a pro, Barnes uses "the claw" putting grip, with which he coaxed in a testy four-footer for his 62nd stroke of the day.
Woods, 34, smiled as he gave Barnes a warm handshake after the round, but did not stop to talk to media or sign autographs on his way to the locker room.
"I'm done," he told a Tour official.