Keeping Score

2020 Houston Open: Monday qualifier Erik Barnes stocks up on birdies

Korn Ferry Tour journeyman will make his PGA Tour debut, which is a long way from stocking grocery shelves a few months ago

0: Number of career starts on the PGA Tour for Erik Barnes, who will make his debut Thursday at the Houston Open after he shot 9-under 63 to share the medal for the four Monday qualifiers. Barnes, 33, who turned pro in 2011 out of Austin Peay, has made 129 starts on the Korn Ferry Tour, with two runners-up among 26 top-25 finishes as his best results. He also made 28 starts on the Latinoamerica and Canadian tours in his climb up the ladder in professional golf. When the major pro tours shut down earlier this year during the coronavirus pandemic, Barnes was faced with bills to pay and a family of four – he and wife Ashleigh have two sons, ages 6 and 2 – for whom to provide. So, he got a job stocking shelves at a grocery store near his home in Palmetto, Fla. As he told Adam Stanley for a report posted to in May, “I needed to take action and do it right now, because I didn’t know how long this was going to drag on for.” Fortunately, the suspension in play lasted for only 3½ months on the KFT. Barnes finished 49th on the points list in the recently completed Korn Ferry Tour season, making 12 cuts and $106,866 in 16 starts, to retain his status for next season. Regardless of what happens this week in Houston, Barnes knows that he’s not likely to be stocking grocery shelves any time soon. “I really don’t have anything to lose,” he told Stanley for a report posted to “What is the worst-case scenario? I miss the cut. I’ve missed plenty of cuts in my life. It will be fine. I hope to, and expect to, play the weekend. If I continue to play the way I am playing, I will play the weekend. I’m not going into this event hoping I just make the cut; I promise you that. But it is a huge relief knowing I have a job for next year.” Barnes will be paired with Harold Varner III and Carlos Ortiz at 8:25 a.m. CST on the 10th tee at Memorial Park Golf Course in the first round (tee times)

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