Perhaps Oakbrook Country Club is the next stop on the PGA Tour — at least, it turned out to be for Capital High School’s Gabe Barnes.
As Barnes walked the fourth hole at the tree-lined facility in Lakewood, he caught a glimpse of Andres Gonzales, a former Capital golfer and member of the PGA Tour, outside his home that borders the course.
For Gonzales, it seemed the cardinal red and gold golf bag inspired some Olympia pride.
“He was in his yard,” Barnes said. “I think he just recognized the bag and just said, ‘Go Capital!’ He said, ‘Good luck out there,’ and went back inside.”
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It got a smile out of Barnes — who golfed a few holes with Gonzales during a Cougars practice this past season — even if luck wasn’t on his side when his ball eventually rolled into the cup for a double-bogey.
“I doubled, but I don’t think (Gonzales) saw because he went back inside, so that was good,” Barnes laughed.
Barnes, who wrapped up his final round at the American Junior Golf Association Ryan Moore Junior Championship on Friday, is shaping up to be the latest golfer to extend Capital’s long legacy in the sport. He shot a tournament personal-best 72 (2-over-par) in the final round to finished tied for 15th. This is the second time he’s played Moore’s tournament, and the third AJGA event he’s competed in.
Barnes, who is entering his senior year, has been among Capital’s top golfers since his freshman season. He tied for eighth at the Class 3A state tournament this year as the Cougars brought home a second-place finish.
Capital has won the 3A Narrows League tournament every year he’s been there.
“Nothing really fazes him in the sense of setbacks or (hitting) out of bounds or any kind of bad thing — he just rolls with it,” Capital coach Steve Hamilton said. “He just lets it go and moves on to the next shot. He understands to play well you have to not worry about the past.
“Most high school kids, if they make a double(-bogey) four holes ago, they’re still thinking about it later.”
Not Barnes — he can square up with the best of them. When Gonzales dropped in for practice at the Olympia Country and Golf Club — where Barnes’ family are members — Barnes finished up the round with the famed alumnus, who fired off a 31.
“What Gabe was really happy about was he played the last five holes with (Gonzales) and shot a 33,” Hamilton said. “I said, ‘See? It’s a mental thing.’
“It gave them a little taste of what it takes. Andres was a great player, the best player, in the long run. He’s the only Capital golfer that’s done a lot professionally. On the PGA Tour, he’s a journeyman. It showed the kids how really good you have to be.”
Barnes is in place to add to the legacy Gonzales helped build at Capital.
There’s more to come for the Cougars, including a possible run at the state title. State golfer Travis Bossio and Eli Simpson are also slated to return, and Hamilton projects a strong freshman class, which includes Barnes’ brother, Finn.
“We should have a good team next year,” Barnes said. “If all of us play well at state we should have a good chance.”