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UA News
Reality of win sinks in for Barnes

Photo
Ricky Barnes
UA golfer
By Charles Renning
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday August 29, 2002

Senior chooses to put golf career on hold ÷ for now

Every April, senior golfer Ricky Barnes looks forward to when he can sit down with his roommates and watch the Masters from the first tee-shot to the final putt.

In 2003, things will be different.

"My roommates are telling me, ╬You're not going to be here to watch it with us.'"Barnes said.

They'll get over it.

By winning the U.S. Amateur Sunday, Barnes earned an exemption to play in the 2003 Masters and the U.S. and British Opens.

"To know that my name will go up there for 2002 and they can't take it off is unbelievable. It's just unbelievable to see Bobby Jones, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods and know it's going to have my name," Barnes said.

Barnes defeated Hunter Mahan 2 and 1 at Oakland Hills Country Club to become the second UA golfer to win the event. Barnes used a tough chip shot on the 35th hole to seal the victory.

"I don't think that I had my best game all-around," Barnes said. "My game was good enough this week and that's what you need to be."

Barnes' short game was the key to his big weekend. He only made one bogey in 35 holes.

"When I got in trouble," Barnes said," my short game got me out."

Like many other UA students, Barnes returned to class this week with a big smile and high expectations.

"It has been great since I've been back," Barnes said.

He mentioned that one of the nicer things since he returned to Tucson was the reception he got at the student-athlete barbecue.

"Jim Livengood, our athletic director, embarrassed me a bit when I got here. He introduced me in front of all of the athletes and they gave me a good round of applause," Barnes said. "Right now, I'm just trying to get back into school."

Even after all of his recent success, men's head golf coach Rick LaRose said Barnes won't change much.

"Ricky will be Ricky," he said, "regardless of whether he's amateur champion or not."

As for the upcoming season, both Barnes and LaRose are optimistic.

Even though Barnes is coming off a win in one of the biggest golf tournaments in the United States, he still looks forward to his senior season.

"There is nothing like celebrating a college tournament with your buddies," Barnes said.

"Our team will feed off of Ricky's success," LaRose said. "It will help our young guys, but we'll have a target on us."

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