Blayne Barber works on his accuracy off the tee on the 16th hole of Innisbrook Golf Club on Tuesday.  Barber is competing at the 2016 Valspar Championship this weekend.

Blayne Barber is hoping that home is sweet at Valspar Championship

 

PALM HARBOR, Fla. – Golfer Blayne Barber is hoping faith in his swing will be his saving grace at the Valspar Championship.

The former All-American and Auburn graduate, who turned professional in 2012, is still looking for his first career victory on the PGA tour.  With the Valspar Championship taking place this weekend in Palm Harbour, Florida, the Tallahassee native is hoping to find the magic in his game just in time to capture his first victory in his home state.

Currently ranked 230th in the world, Barber is hoping the notoriously fast greens at Innisbrook Golf Club will be a factor in his favour.

“When you look around the field this weekend it is especially evident how many great putters there are out here.  Everyone is extremely strong in that area of their short game, and that makes it a real challenge if you get too far behind, too early.”

In an interview with Toronto Observer, Barber said that he and his swing coach “have been working diligently over the past couple weeks” on his putting.

He added: “The greens here are very quick, and I think that will be an advantage for me.  It fits my swing style and I feel good about that part of my game going into the Valspar.”

On a course with so many trees and such tight playable spaces, ball accuracy off the tee and from the fairways is the other crucial factor that will determine Barber’s success in Palm Harbor this weekend.

Currently ranked 39th in driving accuracy, Barber has been hitting the ball consistently straight off the tee this season.

“I’ve been strong off the tee blocks in the past few months or so, even going back to last season,” the third year pro said on Tuesday. “I’ve been feeling pretty confident in that area.”

However, it’s been a different story with the irons.  So far this season Barber has only hit 66% of greens in regulation, and ranks 169th in sand saves.

“There’s no other way to put it, if I don’t keep the ball straight this weekend, I’m done,” he said.

@kylecants