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Ricky Barnes now has day job, but contends at Corales Puntacana Championship

If someone checked the Corales Puntacana Championship leaderboard several holes into the final round, they were probably shocked to see who was leading.

Ricky Barnes.

Yes, that Ricky Barnes. The 2002 U.S. Amateur champion who was one of the PGA Tour’s most well-known players in the 2000s and early 2010s.

The 42-year-old came into the week at No. 1,506 in the world ranking, having not played a full Tour schedule since losing his card in 2018.

Barnes now has a day job, but he will also pick up Tour starts when he can. And in his fourth start of the season, he placed solo seventh, his best finish since 2016.

Full-field scores from the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship

“I mean, my category, not playing much,” said Barnes, who finished 214th in last season’s FedExCup standings, “kind of doing some real estate stuff with a group out of Denver. And coming to a week like this and getting the juices flowing, I think I tied for the lead at some point, I just didn’t execute down the stretch. I’m still rusty and not practicing like I was four and five years ago.”

With his top-10 finish, Barnes claimed a spot in next week’s Valero Texas Open at TPC San Antonio.

Matt Wallace said his “self-talk” was good on Sunday and it translated to a first PGA Tour victory in Punta Cana.

“I’m excited I’m going to go play Valero,” he said. “I’ve had some good memories there, played in the final group in ’12, ’13, ’14, so it should be fun.”

Barnes added: “Just to get a start these days is kind of a thing in itself.”

In his 20-year professional career, Barnes has 570 combined starts on the Korn Ferry and PGA tours with no victories.

A win next week, which would come with a Masters berth, is certainly on Barnes’ radar, but his days of being a full-time Tour player are likely over — and he’s perfectly fine with that.

“Everyone’s like, ‘Hey, do you still want to play?’ Well, yeah, but I don’t want to live and die by, with three kids and six tournaments a year of doing that,” he said. “So I’ve taken a different route and started having what they call somewhat of a day job. But if I know I’m going to get in a golf tournament, I’m going to go out and compete. Missed the cut at (the WM Phoenix Open) by a shot, was competing really well at Puerto Rico (T-33) and it carried over to here.”