Paul Barjon takes three-stroke lead, eyes breakthrough win at Huntsville Championship

This is Barjon’s second stint on the Korn Ferry Tour, and a win Sunday would move him to the brink of securing a PGA TOUR card.

Posted: May 1, 2021 9:55 PM
Updated: May 1, 2021 11:46 PM

The following is a release from the Korn Ferry Tour: 

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – If anyone at the Huntsville Championship is due for a Sunday breakthrough, it’s Paul Barjon.

The Frenchman has been here a handful of times this season. He took a share of the lead into the weekend multiple times. He led after 54 holes. He even came from behind and played his way into a playoff. Maybe this time around a three-stroke lead atop “Huntsville Mountain” will be what Barjon needs to summit a Korn Ferry Tour leaderboard for the first time in his career.

Playing in the final pairing, Barjon carded a 6-under 64. Only one player went lower than Barjon Saturday at The Ledges. The former Texas Christian University golfer made seven birdies, including one at the par-4 2nd, statistically the toughest hole of the third round. Barjon also shot a bogey-free 3-under 32 on the course’s challenging back nine.

The lone blemish on Barjon’s scorecard came at the par-3 4th, where his tee shot plugged in a greenside bunker. Barjon left his second shot in the bunker, but got up and down for bogey and minimized the damage; he birdied three of the next five holes to take the outright lead, then padded it with birdies at Nos. 14 and 17.

“This course looks like you can really take it low. Then you miss the green and you’re in the canyon,” Barjon said. “Tomorrow I’ll be patient, follow the game plan and see where it takes me.”

Barjon found the winner’s circle three times in three seasons on the Mackenzie Tour, winning twice in 2016 and once more in 2019, when he finished atop the Tour’s Order of Merit and regained Korn Ferry Tour status. This is Barjon’s second stint on the Korn Ferry Tour, and a win Sunday would move him to the brink of securing a PGA TOUR card.

Good results have come in bundles this season for Barjon, who has three T2 finishes, a T3 finish, and another pair of top-5s in 24 starts. But a win continues to elude him.

Barjon entered the final round of the 2020 El Bosque Mexico Championship by INNOVA three strokes off the lead. He lost in a three-man playoff. In his first start following the COVID-19 pandemic hiatus, Barjon carried a share of the lead into the weekend at the Korn Ferry Challenge at TPC Sawgrass. He played the next three rounds at 1-over par and finished T14. A month later, Barjon co-led the TPC San Antonio Challenge at the Canyons after 36 holes, only to finish T3 as David Lipsky ran away from the field with weekend rounds of 10-under 62 and 6-under 66. Barjon started the following Sunday in T2 position, and ended it in the same place. Three weeks later, Barjon had a share of the 54-hole lead at the WinCo Foods Portland Open presented by KraftHeinz. A final-round 2-over 73 meant another T2 for Barjon.

“I’ve been able to get over all of them,” Barjon said. “Finishing second is finishing second. It’s not like you don’t win and you finish 50th. It’s still a good result. Sometimes you play really good and finish in the top five. You did your best, and you didn’t win. In Mexico, I lost in a playoff. That’s always a bummer. But it’s still a good learning experience.

“It was hard on the Mackenzie Tour to win. It’s hard here. It’s a goal of mine to win here and on the PGA TOUR, play in the Ryder Cup. But you have to trust the process, and if it happens, it happens.”

Barjon struggled in the early part of the calendar year, but a putter switch ahead of last week’s Veritex Bank Championship brought him back to form. Following an even-par opening round, Barjon tied the Texas Rangers Golf Club tournament course record with a 9-under 62. Barjon rode that round to a T15 finish, and the momentum he built is still rolling this week in Huntsville.

“I putted with my old putter for 3.5 years,” Barjon said. “It’s one of these things, sometimes you need a change to kick things off. Maybe it will last in the bag. Who knows? The old one is still in the car.”

New putter, new Paul Bajorn? Sounds like a winner.

Final-round tee times will run from 6:56 a.m. to 12:50 p.m. local time Sunday off the first tee.

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